WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is laying out a path to put Americans to work, repair public lands and infrastructure, and improve Tribal relations with President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary nominee U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.).
In today’s confirmation hearing, Senator Heinrich pointed to the $9.9 billion secured in the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation he championed to become law, that will help maintain and repair infrastructure on public lands over the next five years.
Senator Heinrich expressed that this funding can put people to work immediately replacing roofs on visitor centers, repairing trails, and improving campgrounds. The funding also presents a real opportunity for economic recovery in rural communities. Senator Heinrich requested that Representative Haaland work to get this new funding out the door as fast as possible if confirmed.
Senator Heinrich also secured a commitment from Representative Haaland to review the Bureau of Indian Education's (BIE) school replacement list. In the Great American Outdoors Act, Senator Heinrich secured a measure to address maintenance backlogs at the BIE and will continue working to improve educational facilities in Tribal communities.
In December of 2020, Senator Heinrich’s bicameral, bipartisan STOP Act passed out of the Senate by unanimous consent. This legislation prohibits the exporting of sacred Native American items and increases penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking Tribal cultural patrimony. Senator Heinrich and Representative Haaland, who is a cosponsor of the House companion, agreed on the importance of the issue and the need to take all possible action to move this legislation across the finish line and repatriate stolen culturally significant items to their rightful owners.
Click here for a copy of Representative Haaland’s testimony. Watch today’s portion of the confirmation hearing by clicking here. Watch Senator Heinrich’s introduction of Representative Haaland by clicking here.