Briefs

Rep. Herrell on why she voted against the measure that contained billions for northern NM fire victims

By: - October 3, 2022 4:30 am

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-New Mexico) spoke briefly during the opening of the RNC Hispanic community center in southwest Albuquerque on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo by Shelby Wyatt for Source NM)

President Joe Biden signed a stopgap spending bill that includes $2.5 billion for disaster relief in the New Mexico communities affected by the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon Fire.

Friday brought a moment of celebration for New Mexico’s congressional delegation. Significant federal funding will start making its way to New Mexico to remedy damage done by the nation’s largest wildfire that burned for months after being lit by the U.S. Forest Service.

Heinrich says $2.5 billion in aid for northern NM fire victims major step in restoring region

Rep. Yvette Herrell stood alone in the state delegation, opposing the bill and siding with her Republican colleagues. The congressional representative from southern New Mexico cast a “nay” vote against the measure meant to keep the U.S. government functioning for a few weeks. Despite her vote, she celebrated the funding for New Mexico fire victims in a statement sent to Source NM.

“I am proud to have worked across the aisle with my colleagues to compensate people hurt by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire caused by the Forest Service, and I am glad that this compensation is included in the continuing resolution today,” she said.

Herrell did publicly support the disaster relief but has not explicitly stated what she did to help negotiate the funding.

Herrell took the party line arguing against the very premise of the measure, saying Democratic leadership — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) — made the bill, “another government spending spree during a time of record inflation.”

According to the Consumer Price Index, inflation has increased more than 7% since 2013. The 8.3% inflation rate is the highest since 1981 when Ronald Regan became president but still substantially lower than the record 19.5% inflation rate set in 1920.

She said she didn’t like that the bill was fast-tracked, pointing out that it will only fund the government until the next budget vote happens after the General Election in November. 

Herrell did not respond to questions about safeguards for how the money is distributed or whether she would support future additional aid for northern New Mexico down the line.

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Shaun Griswold
Shaun Griswold

Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and his ancestry also includes Jemez and Zuni on the maternal side of his family. He grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.

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