ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The deal, if it's approved, would be a huge relief for New Mexico.
About 20,000 Sandia and Los Alamos national lab employees are just days away from furloughs, and on Wednesday New Mexicans learned the state is preparing to withhold food stamp benefits to hundreds of thousands of residents because of the shutdown.
Countless New Mexicans have been on edge since the shutdown began on Oct. 1.
New Mexico's lone Republican in Congress said he's confident the shutdown is about to end.
Late in the day, after the Senate approved a bipartisan plan to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, it appeared like the measure would be brought up for a vote in the House and pass without amendment. At the White House President Obama told reporters he would sign the bill immediately.
This comes after House Republicans couldn't craft a deal of their own and Speaker John Boehner essentially conceded defeat in the standoff.
"The good news is that this challenging time for New Mexicans seems to be over," Pearce said in a statement released about 6:30 p.m. "The bad news is that the agreement does not end the double standard for Washington, nor does it change our nation's dangerous course of reckless spending."
Still, Pearce said, he'll won't be voting in favor of the Senate bill.
Phyllis Jacob is one of 440,000 New Mexicans worried about losing food stamp subsidies on Nov. 1 if the government shutdown isn't resolved.
“It doesn't make sense at all,” Jacob said. “I mean people need to eat.”
The state Human Services Department confirmed the possibility of food stamps being cut off.
“The longer that this stalemate drags on, the more impact it'll have on hard working New Mexicans,” Matt Kennicott with the department said.
An end to the shutdown would mean lab employees not being sent home and the reopening of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Bandelier, White Sands, Petroglyph and Gila Cliff Dwellingss national monuments. Also returning would be tourists and furloughed workers.
“People who were off absolutely will be taken care of, so that’s good,” Pearce told KRQE News 13 earlier in the afternoon.
It also means those relying on food stamps, or SNAP benefits, would be taken care of.
“New Mexico is one of the poorest states as it is, and then to take food stamps, you don't take food out of a person’s mouth, you just don’t do that,” Rosa Muñoz said.
While Pearce is relieved Congress has reached a deal, he's disappointed we'll soon be in the same place.
“We are basically going to be back in this same discussion three months from now, which is very unproductive in my opinion,” Pearce said.
Although Pearce says he's happy about the potential deal, he will vote against it, saying the President will get what he wanted.
He says there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House to pass it.
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