Senator Martin Heinrich Cosponsors Landmark Net Neutrality Legislation

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would protect consumers, prevent a two-tiered Internet system

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is cosponsoring net neutrality legislation that would help prevent the creation of a two-tiered Internet system by requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban so-called “paid prioritization” agreements between a broadband provider and a content provider.  Introduction of the legislation, the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, comes as the FCC prepares to approve updated open Internet rules in February.

“Ensuring a free and open Internet is essential for New Mexico businesses to compete on an even playing field,” said Sen. Heinrich. “As a staunch supporter of net neutrality, I believe the FCC should establish strong, enforceable rules to spur innovation, protect consumers, and preserve competition.”

The bill would help guarantee that start-ups and entrepreneurs have access to the marketplace and ensure consumers can access all content equally. Nearly 4 million Americans wrote to the FCC last year in support of a free and open Internet and against a two-tiered system.

The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would require the FCC to use its existing authority to prohibit paid prioritization agreements between Internet Service Providers (ISP) and content providers on the last mile Internet connection, which is the connection between the ISP and the consumer.  In addition, it would prohibit broadband providers from prioritizing or otherwise giving preferential treatment to its own last mile Internet traffic or the traffic of its affiliates over the traffic of others.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), member of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, introduced the bill today.

A copy of the bill is available here.

DNC Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz Statement on the House Democratic Caucus Agenda

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement in support of the House Democratic caucus legislative agenda announced today:

“The Democratic caucus will fight to advance our country’s infrastructure, work to make sure corporations pay their fair share of taxes and are not rewarded for shipping American jobs overseas. We will introduce legislation to grow paychecks for hard working American families. We will work to ensure workers receive their fair share of compensation and stop CEOs from claiming additional tax deductions until their employees receive a much deserved raise. And we will continue to ensure that millions of Americans receive quality affordable health care.

“And what has the House GOP leadership promised the American people in the next few months? They have committed to looking out for big oil, gas, and coal companies, eliminating reforms that hold Wall Street’s big banks accountable, and repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would take away health care from millions of Americans.

“It is clear which party is behind the American people, committed to growing opportunity from the middle class, and fighting for those who are willing to work hard. And, it is crystal-clear which party is watching out for special interests. I am proud of our Democratic agenda, and look forward to the work we will do in the 114th Congress.”

Senator Tom Udall Sworn in for 2nd Term

At just after 10:00 am (MST) today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall was sworn in for his second term in the U.S. Senate. He issued the following statement:

“Public service is a true honor, and I’m humbled to be able to work on behalf of New Mexicans for another term in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to continuing to fight for our state’s priorities – for funding for our national labs, military bases and other federal installations, for our veterans and for working families.

“We face many challenges as a state and a nation, and too many New Mexico families are still struggling in the wake of the economic recession. Helping New Mexico’s economy grow is one of the most important things I can do as senator. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to ensure New Mexico’s federal installations have stable funding, while also helping build a strong private sector economy that sustains new, good-paying jobs.

“Technology transfer – helping researchers at Los Alamos and Sandia national labs develop startup businesses – is still one important way we can build a high-tech sector in New Mexico. We made some progress last year, and I’m going to keep pushing for the Department of Energy to make tech transfer a priority.

“I’m excited to join the Commerce Committee this year, which gives me a new platform to push several important priorities for New Mexico, including expanding broadband Internet. This is crucial for education, health, and business – especially in our rural communities. Everyone should have equal access the Internet no matter where they live.

“We must keep up the push for a ‘do it all, do it right’ energy policy, including a national Renewable Electricity Standard, which will require utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Not only will it help us fight climate change, it will create thousands of jobs in New Mexico and across the country.

“Finally, I’ve been championing reform of the Senate rules to fix the dysfunction that is paralyzing the Senate. And I’m fighting for a constitutional amendment to rein in out-of-control spending in political campaigns. New Mexicans – like all Americans – want a government that works for them, and I will fight until we put in place the reforms that will truly make a difference.”

Senator Heinrich Backs Reforms To Prevent Future Use Of Torture

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is supporting a series of reforms to prevent the future use of torture. The recommendations, which were derived from the committee’s five-year review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, were outlined in a letter from Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent to President Obama last week.

Senator Heinrich made the following statement today:

“In her letter to the President, Senator Feinstein lays out clear and necessary reforms that were made even more apparent during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. In particular, I look forward to working with her to officially close the legal loopholes that were used to authorize the torture of CIA detainees.

“Further, I hope President Obama will take seriously the opportunity he has to administratively implement reforms that will lead to more objective oversight of CIA activities, clarify the chain of command and responsibility for covert actions, and strengthen accountability processes for those who violate rules and procedures at the CIA.

“This was a grave chapter in our history. The actions taken under this program cost our nation global credibility, and they put the lives of Americans at risk. The Committee’s study provides a thorough accounting of what happened and how it happened. Now we must ensure that it never, ever happens again.”

Weekly Address: Make 2015 the Year for Quality, Affordable Health Insurance

In this week’s address, the Vice President wished Americans a Happy New Year, and asked that as we make resolutions to get healthier in 2015, we take the time to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people have already signed up for quality, affordable health care under the law, and there is still time to secure the peace of mind that comes with getting covered.

From now until February 15th, you can sign up by logging on to HealthCare.gov, by speaking to someone on the phone through the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596 — where you can get assistance in 150 languages, or by  going in person to an enrollment event in your community.

Watch and share today’s weekly address.

Happy Holidays from Sam

I want to wish each of you a happy holiday season, as 2014 comes to an end.  As you celebrate with friends and family, a special thanks for your hard work and dedication to the principles and goals that represent the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

DPNM State Chair Sam Bregman

DPNM State Chair Sam Bregman

We have much to be thankful for.  Senator Tom Udall was re-elected along with Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Congressman Ben Ray Luján.  Together with Senator Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Democrats represent 4 out of 5 federal offices and all will continue to fight hard for New Mexican families.

On January 1, Hector Balderas will be sworn in as Attorney General, joining Tim Keller as our new State Auditor and Tim Eichenberg as our State Treasurer.  In addition, there are 2 new PRC members, Lynda Lovejoy and Sandy Jones, giving Democrats a 4-1 majority on the Public Regulation Commission.

None of this is possible without your strong support.

In 2015, New Mexico Democrats will continue to build a better future for all New Mexicans.

Happy New Year!

Sam

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Sam Bregman is State Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico

Weekly Address: America’s Resurgence Is Real

In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.

This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak. America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change. And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years.

America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.

Watch and share President Obama’s weekly address.

New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats Respond to President Obama’s Announcement on Cuba Policy Changes and the Release of Alan Gross

New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats responded positively today to President Obama’s announcement on changes to the nation’s Cuba policy and to the release of Alan Gross.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall released a statement today on the president’s announcement that he has taken steps to normalize relations with the country of Cuba and has secured the release of American prisoner Alan Gross, who had been held in a Cuban jail since 2009. In November, Udall traveled to Cuba with Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) where they met with Cuban officials as well as religious and business leaders to discuss the impacts of the embargo and travel restrictions on American and Cuban families. Udall also visited Alan Gross in prison and expressed optimism that he would be released soon. Below is Udall’s statement:

“I am happy for Alan Gross and his family today, and we welcome him home after 5 years of incarceration in Cuba. I applaud the president in his efforts to return him to his family and for taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba. Now is the time to end the failed embargo against Cuba and to take steps to normalize relations. This is a sea change as our nation is finally embarking on a 21st century approach with Cuba, one that will open opportunities for New Mexicans and other American interests in Cuba. American citizens are the best diplomats of our values and I hope their future interactions shine through with the Cuban people. It is time to act, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Obama administration, to build upon this announcement and move forward to lift the embargo on Cuba, which has only served to isolate the Cuban people and limit American opportunity.”

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) made the following statement today regarding President Obama’s announcement of changes he’s made to the economic and diplomatic relationship between the United States and Cuba, and the release of American prisoner Alan Gross, who had been held in a Cuban jail since 2009:

“Today marks a welcome change of course in our nation’s relationship with Cuba. I support the Administration’s decision to abandon an outdated Cold War policy of isolation that failed to advance America’s goal of an open and free society for the Cuban people. This new course is consistent with our national security interests, and will help make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and increase economic opportunities. But more importantly, I hope this change in course will lead to more progress in reversing the Cuban government’s history of suppressing the human rights and other civil freedoms of its citizens.

“The release of U.S. citizen Alan Gross is wonderful news. I’m pleased he is home safe and reunited with his family after five years of imprisonment.”

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement about the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

“I am optimistic about the shift toward restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and moving away from a policy that has failed on so many levels. During my visit to Cuba, I was struck by how the embargo, coupled with a dysfunctional economy, has hurt so many average Cubans. A more robust relationship will ultimately help people in both countries, and open the door to democracy in Cuba.

“However, I am concerned about the release of Cubans, who were convicted in American courts, as a condition or precursor to improving relations between with the U.S. and Cuba. I worry about the message that may send to other state actors around the world that are looking for leverage against the U.S.”

Doña Ana Democrats Mourn the Passing of State Representative Phillip M. Archuleta

Tuesday afternoon State Representative Phillip Archuleta (D-Doña Ana-36) passed away from complications of pneumonia.

Phillip_001aAs State Representative from his southern New Mexico district Phillip Archuleta was a leading champion for civil rights and equal treatment of all New Mexicans, for labor and working people, and for veterans.

As a legislator he fought for quality public education, equity in community services and infrastructure, and fair treatment for his community. He was an outspoken champion for the rights of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers.

Representative Archuleta, who was himself disabled, was also a strong voice for the rights of disabled persons in the New Mexico State Legislature.

A native of Taos, New Mexico, Archuleta had lived and worked for more than two decades in Las Cruces. Prior to serving in the New Mexico State House of Representatives,  Archuleta worked in Labor Law Administration for the State of New Mexico Department of Labor.

His voice will be greatly missed.

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County will post memorial information in the coming days.

Senator Tom Udall Welcomes Passage of Bill to Begin Reform of Federal Information Technology Systems

Udall authored reform legislation to improve how citizens interact with government, save billions of taxpayers’ dollars, increase transparency in IT purchasing

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, today announced that a bill he has helped champion in Congress, to begin needed reforms of federal information technology (IT) purchasing and management, has passed Congress as a part of major defense legislation.

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) passed last week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). FITARA is designed to improve the way citizens interact with the federal government, save billions of taxpayers’ dollars, and increase transparency in IT purchasing. The legislation includes major elements of a bill Udall introduced with Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the Federal Information Technology Savings, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2013. The bill is set to be signed into law by the president.

The federal government spends approximately $80 billion annually on IT, yet those investments continue to underperform, often incurring considerable cost overruns and delays. FITARA will improve how the federal government acquires, implements and manages its information technology investments by giving agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) more authority over the budget, governance, and personnel processes for agency Information Technology investments, and by improving transparency and review processes of agency IT investments.

“The number one way most Americans interact with the federal government is online, but our purchasing and management systems date back to the days of floppy disks and telephone modems, and it’s wasting billions of taxpayer dollars a year,” Udall said. “These reforms are badly needed to encourage innovation, save New Mexico taxpayers’ money and help avoid IT failures like the initial rollout of the healthcare.gov website. I’m proud of the meaningful bipartisan work that went into this critical legislation, and I will continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to push for the updates and investments needed to provide best service we can for the taxpayers.”

FITARA enhances agency CIOs’ authorities and strengthens key initiatives proposed in the administration’s 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management. Highlights include:

-More authority for chief information officers over the budget, governance and personnel processes for agency IT investments.

-Increased transparency for IT investments and a requirement that agencies review troubled investments.

-The bill directs the development of an enhanced government-wide software purchasing program that agencies may use to lower acquisition and management costs.

-Mandatory annual reviews all of agency IT investments to eliminate duplication and waste.

-Consolidates over 9,000 federal data centers.

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