ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The U.S. House on Friday approved temporary funding for New Mexico's national laboratories despite Democratic members of the state's delegation calling it a sham that would actually cut funding.
Democratic Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Luján Grisham also claimed the bill wouldn't stop furloughs about to start at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"This is a shame, and it's a sham," Luján said on the House floor. "This Republican charade that is going to go home to my state of New Mexico and direct the directors of the labs to tell employees who's going to go home without a paycheck and who will not.
"Enough is enough."
The House bill would provide funding to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which provides critical funding to the national labs including Sandia and Los Alamos.
It would temporarily fund the NNSA until Dec. 15.
New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce voted for it saying, "Today's vote to fund the NNSA is key to the security of our nation, and assures that the hard-working employees of Los Alamos and Sandia national labs will continue to have jobs."
Without the bill LANL is set to shut down next Friday. Sandia would close the following Monday.
Rep. Michelle Luján Grisham, D-N.M., also voted against the bill saying, "Unfortunately, House Republicans' piecemeal approach falls short. In fact, this bill would actually cut Sandia National Labs' funding by 46 percent."
The bill will now go the senate where New Mexico's two Democratic senators say they will also vote against it.
But even if the bill passed, President Obama says he would veto the funding. Democrats say it's time to just fund the entire government and stop and picking and choosing what to pay for.
"What the House did today continues their irresponsibility," Sen. Tom Udall said.
"Not only has the president already said he would veto piecemeal bills, but the bill the House passed also represents a major cut in funding for the labs."
Sen. Martin Heinrich argued, "As this shutdown drags on and New Mexicans continue to suffer, House Republicans find time to hold votes to restore funding for a select group of government functions, instead of holding the one vote that would reopen the entire government."
Between Los Alamos and Sandia as many as 18,000 people could be out of work. Both LANL and Sandia have been making preparations to start shutting down.
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