Heinrich amendments to defense bill will bring thousands of jobs to NM

By:  David Carl

What should I know about Heinrich amendments?

  • The Senate approved its 2018 defense authorization bill Monday.
  • In that bill, Sen. Martin Heinrich added amendments that would have a huge economic impact on New Mexico
  • The bill would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to break ground and begin construction of a $174,000,000 National Nuclear Safety Administration Office Building in Albuquerque.
  • Experts say the new facility could house 1,200 full-time employees after completion, and could require as many as 2,000 more jobs to complete construction and maintenance.
  • The bill would also create an Aircraft Technician Career Pipeline at New Mexico universities and high schools. Currently, the Air Force houses several F-16 fighter jets at Holloman Air Force Base. The pipeline would provide training for New Mexicans to become aircraft technicians and maintain those jets; a role that is currently in need of being filled.
  • The bill would also require the Trump administration to justify shifting Los Alamos National Lab’s plutonium capabilities. Currently, LANL is the only place in the country that completes “nuclear pit production,” which creates several jobs in Los Alamos. Under the bill, the Trump administration would have to jump through several hoops to move that production elsewhere.
  • The bill also calls for the building of a rapid prototyping satellite manufacturing capability at Kirtland Air Force Base, allowing for New Mexico to continue contributing to space exploration.
  • The bill is headed to conference between House and Senate committees. Once approved, it will go to the president's desk.