ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While more federal help is on the way for New Mexico businesses this week, New Mexico’s U.S. Senator Tom Udall is putting the pressure on the Trump Administration to double-down on testing efforts as the economy prepares for reopening.
The senator’s comments came Wednesday during a media briefing about the recent congressional package that renews funding for the Pay Protection Program (PPP.) That program received an extra $310-billion dollars this week, giving thousands of business loans of up to $10-million for business expenses. Those loans can be converted to grants if businesses keep employees on their payroll.
Sen. Udall says a successful economic reopening won’t happen in New Mexico or much of the rest of the U.S. without much more testing to see who does and doesn’t have the virus.
“The real key there is a real push to get a dramatically increased national testing and that needs to supplement all the good work that the governor is doing and many of the (Pueblo) governors across the state,” said Udall.
Udall expressed support Wednesday for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s efforts so far in increasing testing and testing capacity throughout the state.
However, Udall says he wants to see the federal response to testing ramp up.
“I’m pushing hard to see that the Federal Government and the Trump Administration, step up to the plate and put in place a national expanded testing, that’s the way that we’re going to get back to work, and try to get back to some kind of normal,” Udall said.
Udall says the last round of PPP funding helped 8,277 New Mexican businesses with about $1.4-billion dollars of funding. With the latest funding infusion, Udall is hoping for more of the state’s small businesses get access to the funds, as $60-billion dollars is earmarked for U.S. businesses using small banks and credit unions and minority-operated businesses.
The U.S. Senate reconvenes next week. Sen. Udall says he’s going to push for that national testing program and for more relief funds for local governments.
Udall says the latest federal relief bill also granted New Mexico another $6.5-million dollars for testing and contact tracing efforts.