Long Lasting Damage
President Trump's hollow calls for unity at last night's State of the Union cannot undo the damage he has caused across our nation, particularly in our tribal communities.
My guest to last night's address was former Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley. Governor Riley, representing the All Pueblo Council of Governors, shined a light on the long-lasting impact President Trump's shutdown will have in tribal communities. During the shutdown, our tribal nations in Indian Country were disproportionately hurt by funding lapses and were forced to struggle to meet many basic needs for their communities.
You can watch Governor Riley explain how the shutdown impacted Indian Country here.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and former Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley discuss the impacts of the government shutdown in tribal communities, February 5, 2019.
It will take months - and potentially years - for tribal governments to recover from President Trump's unnecessary and irresponsible shutdown. The lapse in federal funding hampered critical public safety, child welfare, housing, and health care programs at Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Many tribal members are also federal employees or contractors who were forced to miss multiple paychecks.
We are about to face another critical funding deadline. We cannot allow the president to once again hold New Mexicans hostage to his irrational political demands. I am fighting for a long-term funding agreement to provide much needed stability and certainty for our communities. We must uphold the federal government's trust obligation to tribes under federal treaty rights to guarantee funding for essential services. We also need to make sure our federal workers and contractors are made whole and receive their back pay as soon as possible.
Even in the face of all this chaos from the White House, I will keep doing everything I can to fight for New Mexico communities and American values.
United States Senator