Senator Tom Udall’s campaign manager Daniel Sena issued the following statement on last night’s New Mexico Public Broadcasting debate, which was carried on all public television and radio stations throughout New Mexico:
“Tom Udall made it clear that he will continue to stand up to anyone to do what’s right for New Mexico. Tonight’s debate highlighted Tom’s work to protect New Mexico’s military bases and national labs, fight for equal pay for women, raise the minimum wage, and protect Social Security and Medicare.
“Tom Udall works every day to do what’s right for New Mexico. Meanwhile Allen Weh reinforced that all he stands for is looking out for millionaires and CEOs like himself. Allen Weh demonstrated a lack of specifics on major policies – and even basic knowledge about New Mexico families.
“Allen Weh had no answer for New Mexico families facing real challenges. Whether it’s a tax policy that would slash funding for New Mexico’s military bases and national labs and cut the legs out from under Social Security and Medicare – or issues critical to New Mexico families, like improving child wellbeing, or ensuring drought-stricken New Mexico communities have reliable access to water, Allen Weh is way wrong from New Mexico.”
FACT CHECK 1: TOM UDALL RECAPPED HIS RECORD OF DOING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR NEW MEXICO
Throughout the debate, Tom Udall reminded voters about his record of always standing up for what’s right for New Mexico. Meanwhile Allen Weh had nothing to offer but talking points about Washington and Obama, Tom Udall presented his strong record on the issues important to New Mexico.
Udall Fought Back Against Members Of His Own Party Trying To Cut Funding For New Mexico’s National Labs. California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein tried to cut spending on B61 life extension project at New Mexico’s national labs. According to the Albuquerque Journal: “Udall Clashed With Fellow Appropriations Committee Members Who Aimed To Slash Funding…” Udall was successful, and the labs got “big budget boosts” in the 2014 appropriations bill, including B61 bomb life extension work. [Albuquerque Journal, 10/30/2013 and 1/15/2014]
Udall Worked Across The Aisle To Save Cannon Air Force Base, Protecting Thousands Of Jobs. In 2005, when Clovis’ Cannon Air Force base was on the chopping block, Tom Udall worked together with local Democrats and Republicans to meet with BRAC officials and change their minds about Cannon Air Force Base. Udall was successful, and Cannon Air Force base was realigned as a special operations training base, saving 5,700 jobs. [Associated Press, 6/20/2006 and 7/20/2005]
Over The Objections Of The Administration, Tom Udall Passed Legislation To Help Track Veterans Exposed To Toxic Chemicals In Iraq And Afghanistan And Work Toward A Cure. Tom Udall met with Master Sergeant Jesse Baca, an Iraq veteran who was dying from exposure to toxic fumes from burn pits in Iraq. Despite opposition from the Veterans Administration, Tom Udall pushed forward with legislation to create a registry of service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic fumes in Iraq and Afghanistan. [112th Congress, S. 1798; NBC News 7/8/2014; Associated Press, 1/26/2013; Albuquerque Journal, 1/11/2013]
Udall Worked To Bring Water To Northwestern New Mexico. Many residents of the Navajo nation have to truck in tanks of water for everyday use in chapters like Whitehorse Lake. Tom Udall introduced a bill that was wrapped into an omnibus public lands bill that authorized funding for the construction of the Navajo-Gallup Pipeline. Now rural New Mexicans in the region are already starting to see running water flowing to their homes thanks to this project [Albuquerque Journal, 1/5/2014; Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/26/2009;110th Congress, H.R. 1970]
Tom Udall Fought Back Against The Administration When It Tried To Withhold $26 Million In Oil & Gas Money From New Mexico. Under the sequestration cuts imposed by the Tea Party, the Obama administration began to withhold payments to the states for their portions of mineral royalties collected from oil and gas activity in each state. Tom Udall said, “These dollars should be off-limits to federal meddling,” and introduced legislation to force the federal government to give the money back to the states. Eventually the administration conceded and returned $26 million in mineral royalty payments to New Mexico. [Capitol Report New Mexico, 5/9/2013; Albuquerque Journal, 8/26/2013]
FACT CHECK 2: ALLEN WEH REMINDED VOTERS THAT HE’S ALL TALKING POINTS, NO SOLUTIONS
Starting with his opening remarks and continuing throughout the debate Allen Weh failed to show a clear grasp of the issues facing New Mexicans. On health care, Weh stuck to tired Tea Party talking points bashing the Affordable Care Act. While Tom Udall cited legislation he was working to fix the law, Weh still refused to offer any real solutions. Later, in a discussion on the Ute water pipeline, Udall talked about the work he is doing to solve real world issues. Weh had nothing to add other than that he agrees with Udall. Apparently he hasn’t learned anything since he started this race in February not even knowing what the Ute pipeline was.
In March, When Was Asked Specifically About Healthcare Solutions He Had Nothing To Offer. The Alamogordo Daily News wrote a summary of a visit by Senate candidate Allen Weh in March of 2014. According to the Daily News, “When asked if he had a solution for healthcare reform Weh replied, ‘Do I have a solution for you today? No. I don’t. But I promise you this I’m going to find one. Because you can’t hurt people like that. It’s not right and it’s not fair. In terms of the details I’m not prepared to sit here today and tell you exactly what needs to be amended but I can safely look you in the eye and say that it is a train wreck.’” [Alamogordo Daily News, 3/27/2014]
Weh Didn’t Know Anything About The Ute Water Project Other Than To Say Water “Is A Major Issue Anywhere In the Southwest.” In February 2014, Clovis News Journal reported: “Weh said although he wasn’t familiar with details of the Ute Water Project, he would support it or any other program to ensure a sustainable water source. ‘Water,’ Weh said, ‘is a major issue anywhere in the Southwest.’ The estimated $550 million Ute project would pipe water from Ute Reservoir in Logan to Cannon, Clovis, Portales and other nearby communities. Most of the project is unfunded, depending largely on future federal grants or spending bills.” [Clovis News Journal, 2/14/14]
FACT CHECK 3: ALLEN WEH CAN’T HIDE FROM HIS DEVASTATING PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR WORKERS UNDER AGE 26
During the debate, Allen Weh tried to claim that his comments on eliminating the minimum wage had been taken out of context. Allen Weh speaks for himself: Repeatedly over the course of this campaign, he has said that the minimum wage should be eliminated for young workers.
March 27: Weh Called For Eliminating The Minimum Wage For Young Workers. The Alamogordo Daily News wrote a summary of a visit by Senate candidate Allen Weh in March of 2014. According to the Daily News, “He shared his views on raising the minimum wage in the U.S. and expressed a different approach to handling wage issues. ‘People make it out to be more important than it really is,’ he said. ‘I’ve often thought that if we could reach an agreement where we carve out and eliminate a minimum wage for those below the age of 26. The trade off would be to go with minimum wage for those above 26. If you’re not 26 years old you don’t have a requirement. You can be paid anything.’ ‘I’m not saying everyone (in the younger age group) is going to be kept below minimum wage,’ he said. ‘(Employers) should be free to set the wages. I think we need the freedom to hire our kids – we have child labor laws in our country,” he said. ‘No one is going to abuse a child. This isn’t the 1900s.’” [Alamogordo Daily News, 3/27/2014]
September 7: Allen Weh Opposes A Minimum Wage For Workers Under 26, Says “So What If We Pay Them $3 An Hour, Or $4 An Hour Or $5 An Hour.” In a profile article covering Allen Weh’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate, the Albuquerque Journal reported “Weh said the federal $7.25 minimum wage should be increased, but he said workers younger than age 26 should be allowed to work for less as a way to promote higher rates of youth employment. ‘We could not only reduce teen unemployment; we could reduce juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime with one fell swoop,’ Weh said. ‘And so what if we pay them $3 an hour, or $4 an hour or $5 an hour, that would be between the employer and the willing youngster.’” [Albuquerque Journal, 9/7/2014]
September 24: Weh In His Own Words: “No Minimum Wage Below The Age Of 26. SO WHAT?”
Listen To Allen Weh In His Own Words At The Albuquerque Economic Forum: HERE
FACT CHECK 4: ALLEN WEH OPENLY OPPOSES ENFORCING EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
Allen Weh denied that he had opposed protecting equal pay for women, yet on his website is a press release in which Allen Weh openly opposed legislation that would make equal pay enforceable. Weh complains that it would result in lawsuits against employers like himself, yet as Tom Udall pointed out in the debate: the way to avoid lawsuits is to follow the law and pay women equally.
In His Own Words: Weh Opposed Paycheck Fairness Legislation, Raised Concerns About Protecting Bosses. In a statement released on his website, Allen Weh said: “The ‘Paycheck Fairness’ bill, being championed by Tom Udall, is a mis-guided, damaging piece of legislation that will hurt New Mexico small business.” Weh later added: “What is Tom Udall going to do for the man or woman who is falsely accused and goes under because of an expensive lawsuit?” [Allen Weh Press Release, 4/14/2014]
FACT CHECK 5: TOM UDALL STANDS UP FOR NEW MEXICO WOMEN
Tom Udall has been a leader in standing up for New Mexico women. In the workplace, Tom Udall has cosponsored legislation aimed at helping women ensure they get equal pay for equal work. In the doctor’s office, Tom Udall has fought to keep government and employers out of a woman’s private, personal medical decisions. At home, Tom Udall has been a leader in combating violence against women.
Tom Udall Helped Pass Legislation Protecting Workers From Gender-Based Pay Discrimination. On January 8, 2009, Tom Udall signed on as a cosponsor to S.181 (111th), the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This bill allowed employees to sue employers for wage discrimination within 180 days of their last paycheck affected by the alleged discrimination. The measure was designed to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) that ruled a worker could not bring a wage discrimination suit more than 180 days after the initial discriminatory act. The bill was signed into law on January 29, 2009. [111th Congress, S. 181]
Tom Udall Cosponsored The Paycheck Fairness Act. On January 23, 2013, Tom Udall joined Senator Mikulski in introducing S. 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill would require employers to show that any pay disparity is job-related and not based on gender. It would make it easier to file sex discrimination cases in wage claims by putting the legal onus on employers to prove that pay discrepancies between women and men doing the same jobs were the result of nondiscriminatory business necessities. [113th Congress, S.84]
As Attorney General, Tom Udall Passed A Tough New Anti-Stalking Law. In November of 1996, the Albuquerque Journal reported that a coalition of advocates for domestic violence victims, including Attorney General Tom Udall proposed a set of changes to existing state laws on stalking. According to the Journal, “Under current laws, stalking is a misdemeanor until the third conviction, according to Attorney General Tom Udall, who presented the proposal. The new law would make a second conviction a felony and would require the stalker to complete a counseling program. It would also create the crime of aggravated stalking, which would automatically be a fourth-degree felony the first time and a third-degree felony the second and subsequent convictions.” That proposal was introduced in the following legislative session and passed into law [Albuquerque Journal, 11/26/1996; New Mexico Legislature 1997 Regular Session HB 211]
Tom Udall Helped Pass Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization With Protections For Native Women. On January 23, 2013, Tom Udall cosponsored S. 47, A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. This bill reauthorized a series of programs to support victims of domestic violence. According to the New York Times, a major obstacle to the bill’s passage in the House was a set of provisions backed by Tom Udall granting tribal courts jurisdiction to prosecute domestic violence offenses committed against native women by non-natives on reservations. “Native women should not be abandoned to a jurisdictional loophole,” said Udall, who backed similar provisions in stand-alone legislation in the previous congress. The bill, including the tribal provisions was signed into law on March 7, 2013. [New York Times, 2/10/2013; 113th Congress, S.47; CNN, 2/28/2013]
Tom Udall Voted To Stop The “Blunt Amendment,” Which Would Allow Employers To Cut Off Coverage Of Contraceptives. On March 01, 2012, Tom Udall voted for a motion to table (kill) the Blunt, R-Mo., amendment (no. 1520) to a transportation bill. The Blunt amendment would allow health insurance plans to deny coverage to provisions for medical services that run counter to the plan sponsor’s or employer’s religious beliefs. It also would establish a private right of legal action for enforcement of the coverage exemptions. Senator Patty Murray, who offered the motion to table the Blunt amendment said “It would simply give every boss in America the right to make the health-care decisions for their workers and their families.” [CQ Floor Votes; Senate Vote #24, 3/1/2012; Washington Post, 3/1/2012]
FACT CHECK 6: ALLEN WEH BACKS BUDGET PLANS THAT WOULD SLASH SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE
Allen Weh continued to deny that his plans to implement a balanced budget constitutional amendment would impact Social Security and Medicare. While the idea may have a nice name, it would have the disastrous result of forcing drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The Balanced Budget Amendment proposal has been embraced by the extreme Tea Party fringe of the Republican Party, however mainstream Republicans have shied away from the issue knowing the damaging effects it would have on the economy. Economists have pointed out that this would necessitate deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare while also rapidly shrinking the economy. This would have a terrible impact on New Mexico’s seniors and New Mexico’s economy.
Weh Called For A Balanced Budget Amendment. On the issues page of his website, Allen Weh said: “I believe in a balanced budget amendment, nearly every state in the union has this, and there should not be an exception for the federal government.” [http://www.allenweh.com/issues/]
Allen Weh Claimed That A Balanced Budget Amendment Had Already Been In Place Before, Said He Would Support It.During a radio interview with The Blaze’s Doc Thompson, Allen Weh was asked: “What about a balanced budget amendment? Do you support that? If it’s written the right way so they can’t just raise taxes?” Weh responded: “Absolutely, and you know we had one till the spring – what was it a couple years? Then it got thrown out. It was imposed during Clinton’s administration, but most states in the union have a balanced budget amendment to the state constitution and it works fine. Out here in New Mexico we stay in the black – uh we had a prior Governor who worked real hard to get us into the red, but uh the fact of the matter is the legislature has to come to town once a year and balance the budget because it’s in the constitution. I think we ought to have the same thing at the federal level.“ [The Blaze – Doc Thompson, 2/17/2014]
- Former Reagan Adviser: Balanced Budget Amendment “Would Unquestionably Throw The Economy Into Recession Just As It Did In 1937.” According to Bruce Bartlett, a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, in the Fiscal Times: “It’s one thing to require a balanced budget when starting from a position of balance or near-balance. It’s quite another when we are running deficits of over $1 trillion per year for the foreseeable future. Even if we were not in an economic crisis and fighting two wars, a rapid cut in spending of that magnitude would unquestionably throw the economy into recession just as it did in 1937.” [Fiscal Times, 8/27/10]
- Macroeconomic Advisers: Balanced Budget Amendment In 2012 Would Have Shrunk GDP Growth By 12% And Raised Unemployment Forecast From 9% To 16%, Roughly 11 Million Fewer Jobs. According to a report from Macroeconomic Advisors on the implications of a balanced budget Amendment, “Our current forecast shows a Unified Budget deficit of about $1 trillion for FY 2012. Suppose this fall the federal government enacted a budget for FY 2012 showing discretionary spending $1 trillion below our forecast, resulting in a ‘static’ projection of a balanced budget for next year. $1 trillion is roughly two-thirds of all discretionary spending, and about 7% of GDP. Our short-run multiplier for discretionary spending is about 2, and let’s assume a simple textbook version of Okun’s law in which the unemployment gap varies inversely with, but by half as much as, the percentage output gap. Then, instead of forecasting real GDP growth of 2% or so for FY 2012, we’d mark that projection down to perhaps -12% and raise our forecast of the unemployment rate from 9% to 16%, or roughly 11 million fewer jobs. With interest rates already close to zero, the Fed would be near powerless to offset this huge fiscal drag.” [CBPP, 11/8/11]
- CBPP: Balanced Budget Amendment Without Tax Increases “Would Necessitate Deep Cuts In Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Policymakers would have little alternative but to institute deep cuts in specific programs. And as noted elsewhere in this statement, before the debt limit could be raised, Congress would have to approve a constitutional balanced budget amendment that essentially requires cuts even deeper than those in the Ryan budget. Reaching and maintaining a balanced budget in the decade ahead while barring any tax increases would necessitate deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. After all, by 2021, total expenditures for these three programs will be nearly 45 percent greater than expenditures for all other programs (except interest payments) combined. Big cuts in these programs would be inevitable.” [CBPP, 7/16/11]