This story is a staff report from The Paper.


After the U.S. Senate confirmed Representative Deb Haaland’s (NM-01) historic nomination by a 51 to 40 vote, Haaland released the following report recapping her accomplishments during her tenure in Congress. Haaland made history alongside Rep. Sharice Davids as one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress in 2018 and was reelected to serve a second term in 2020 before President Joe Biden nominated her to serve as the Secretary of the Interior. 

In Congress, Haaland focused on policies that would benefit New Mexico families, environmental and economic justice, climate change, and the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis. Haaland is expected to deliver her letter of resignation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi today, Tuesday, March 16, 2021 after she delivers her final House Floor address.

“As a volunteer, activist, and organizer for more than twenty years, it was my proudest professional moment to be elected as one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress. I feel immensely satisfied to have been able to accomplish so much for New Mexico families in such a short amount of time, and I’m grateful to my team for their hard work and all the New Mexicans who called, wrote and shared their input over the past two years,” said Rep. Deb Haaland.

Work in New Mexico’s First Congressional District by the Numbers:

  • Nearly 1,468 New Mexicans in our district reached out to my office and received assistance with social security, veterans benefits, Medicare, passport services, COVID-19 assistance, and other issues involving federal agencies
  • Held 28 Mobile Office Hours events to make services more accessible to everyone throughout the district. 
  • Held 199 town halls, listening sessions, roundtables, coffees, and  community events to connect directly with the community.
  • Returned $301,000 in benefits earned to New Mexicans 

Bills Signed into Law

  • The Not Invisible Act of 2019: the first bill in history to be introduced and passed by four members of federally recognized tribes: Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation), Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation), and Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation). The Not Invisible Act creates an advisory committee on violent crime composed of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice and provide best practices.
  • PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act: to enhance the ability of tribes to enter into, and carry out, compacting agreements. It also aligns the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) compacting approval process with the one currently used by the Indian Health Service (IHS) to improve consistency for tribes. These compacts are vital for upholding the federal government’s trust responsibilities with tribes and promoting self-governance and local control.  
  • Public Lands Package: the bi-partisan package contains provisions to create 273,000 acres of wilderness in New Mexico that were also part of the ANTIQUITIES Act, which Haaland introduced alongside U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). 
  • Great American Outdoors Act: provides guaranteed full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding to address the maintenance backlog at our National Parks and on other public lands. As Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Haaland worked with her colleagues on the committee and House leadership to shepherd the package through committee and now on to the President’s desk. The two programs are critical to Haaland’s efforts to create good paying jobs in outdoor recreation and restoration economies at a critical time of economic recovery.
  • Military Housing Oversight and Service Member Protection Act: pieces of the comprehensive bill introduced along-side U.S. Senator Warren (D-Mass.) to address unsafe military housing were included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act: 
  • Native American Business Incubators Act: provides essential services such as a workspace, a collaborative environment, comprehensive business skills training, and opportunities to build professional networks that will help increase access to capital for business investment and growth through three-year grants to entities with ties to tribal communities, education institutions, and other organizations to expand assistance to a broad range of business sectors and incubation methods. 
  • Savanna’s Act of 2019: named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year old pregnant member of the Spirit Lake Tribe who was tragically murdered in August 2017. Savanna’s Act addresses the disturbing increase in murdered and missing Native American women by creating new guidelines for responding to such cases, and by incentivizing their implementation.
  • Rent the Camo: included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act the bill will create a “Rent the Camo” pilot program, fashioned after Rent the Runway, that issues maternity uniforms and maternity uniform related items to pregnant military members at no cost to the Servicemember while ensuring that uniforms are free of toxic chemicals that may harm the baby or mother.
  • Selected Reserve Education Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Enhancement Act:  adjusts the LRP Program so that Selected Reserve component service members can realize 100% of qualified education benefits within their six-year contract while providing a strong recruitment tool for the National Guard to provide a fairer balance of the benefits offered to Citizen Soldiers when compared with their active duty counterparts was included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. 
  • Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act to improve VA outreach, health care, and benefits for Native American Veterans. The bill was included in comprehensive Veterans package signed into law in January of 2021.

Legislative Milestones: 

  • Earned bicameral support on the most bills compared to all Representatives in the 116th Congress’s first session.
  • Passed a historic Post Office renaming bill to honor New Mexico letter carrier Jose Hernandez through the House in February of 2021.
  • Worked with bipartisan cosponsors on the most authored bills compared to all House Freshmen in 2019.
  • Cosponsored the most bills of all House Freshmen in 2019.
  • Received the most cosponsors on bills compared to House Freshmen in 2019.
  • Served as Vice Chair of the full House Natural Resources Committee and chaired the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
  • Co-chaired the Congressional Native American Caucus, and served as a Vice Chair on the Democratic Women’s Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Equality Caucus.
  • Introduced the most Indian Country legislation during the 116th Congress compared to all members of the House and Senate.

Creating Opportunities for New Mexicans: 

  • Introduced the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act to make childcare and early learning affordable for all.
  • Cosponsored the College for All Act to eliminate public college fees and tuition.
  • Introduced the Gig Is Up Act to ensure New Mexico workers’ fair employment classification.
  • Put Medicare for All on the table and cosponsored the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to make healthcare more accessible for 17 million people.
  • Introduced the Honoring Family-Friendly Workplaces Act to incentivize and recognize businesses that prioritize the needs of working parents’ lives.
  • Introduced the bipartisan Anti-Lunch Shaming Act, and co-sponsored the No Shame at School Act, to get the rest of the nation to follow New Mexico’s lead in ending harmful and isolating policies that hurt our children.
  • Took steps to address poverty by passing the Raise the Wage Act in the House to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  • Secured expansive food assistance funding in the House FY21 Agriculture appropriations bill, including $25 billion for Child Nutrition Programs and $68 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Passed the American Rescue Plan, which included direct payments to families, extended unemployment benefits, support for schools to reopen safely, increased SNAP benefits, critical funding for state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, and historic investments in Indian Country.
  • Provided rapid relief funding to New Mexicans, their families, and frontline workers and healthcare workers through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the CARES Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, that included provisions to help students, their families, schools, and the local governments that run them.
  • Increased unemployment insurance payments by $600 per week in the CARES Act, followed by $300 per week in the Supplemental Appropriations Act, expanded benefits eligibility to self-employed individuals, “gig economy” employees, and independent contractors.
  • Secured $3.5 billion in supplemental emergency funds for the Child Care Development Block Grant, so that New Mexico families could continue to seek out childcare options during the pandemic.
  • Expanded the Paycheck Protection Program in the Supplemental Appropriations Act with $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans.
  • Secured $25 billion in the Supplemental Appropriations Act for critically needed rental assistance to help families struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
  • Passed the comprehensive Heroes Act alongside House Democrats to extend pandemic assistance through stimulus payments, rental assistance, a 12-month eviction and foreclosure moratorium, and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Consistently fought to see that meaningful COVID-19 relief be brought to a vote in the Senate, despite idle action from Senate Republicans.
  • Ensured that the CARES Act included assistance to Tribal, State and local governments so they could continue to provide essential services during the pandemic, and that access to this funding be improved through the Supplemental Appropriations Act.  

Protecting our planet for future generations and building an equitable clean energy economy:

  • Introduced the THRIVE Agenda to rebuild our broken economy by investing in dignified jobs, environmental protections, and prioritizing marginalized communities.
  • As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, introduced the ANTIQUITIES Act to protect national monuments from extractive industries and honor sacred sites.
  • Shepherded the Great American Outdoors Act to secure permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the National Parks maintenance backlog through the House and into law.
  • Defended the sacred Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from frivolous oil and gas development by cosponsoring the Artic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act.
  • Passed the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act in the House to prevent oil and gas development around Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, as well as securing provisions in appropriations bills to continue the current moratorium on drilling.
  • Introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act to make our outdoors more accessible.

Fighting for an inclusive future: 

  • Included mixed status families for stipend check eligibility in the American Rescue Plan of 2021.
  • Introduced the Same Day Voter Registration Act to expand participation in elections, which was included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act and passed the House in both the 116th and 117th Congress.
  • Passed the historic and bipartisan Equality Act twice in the House to ensure that LGBTQ+ Americans are treated the same as every other American.
  • Stood with immigrant families by cosponsoring the REUNITE Act to reunite children cruelly separated from their parents at the Southern border.
  • Cosponsored the Alternatives to Detention Act to force the Trump Administration to shift to more human and sensible policies for immigrants waiting for processing.
  • Introduced the AGES Act, to rectify an issue facing a constituent and ensure that same-sex couples are treated fairly when applying for social security survivors benefits.
  • Led a LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus letter to Ambassador Birx of the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force outlining concerns facing the LGBTQ+ community during the pandemic.
  • Cosponsored the Asylum Seeker Protection Act to prohibit funding being used to implement President Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ policy.
  • Cosponsored and voted to pass Rep. Judy Chu’s NO BAN Act to repeal President Trump’s Muslim ban, asylum ban, and refugee ban.

Giving our military service members, their families, and Veterans the benefits they have earned: 

  • Introduced the Military Housing Oversight and Service Member Protection Act to address unsafe and unsanitary conditions in military housing and included provisions of the bill in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • Secured numerous FY21 NDAA wins for New Mexico service members and our national labs, including $50 million to improve infrastructure at Kirtland AFB, $120 million for Los Alamos National Labs upgrades, $4.8 for Sandia National Labs upgrades, and $135 million for military family housing.
  • Fought for pregnant military members with the inclusion of my Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act in the FY21 NDAA. The pilot program offers non-toxic maternity uniforms and related items to pregnant members at no additional cost.
  • Prioritized Veterans in the FY2021 Appropriations bill with $313 million for Veteran suicide prevention and outreach, $3.2 billion to reduce the VA disability claims backlog, $20 million for VA Supportive Housing, and $1.9 billion for Veterans homeless assistance programs.

Being a voice that Congress has never heard before: 

  • Took steps to end the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women by passing both the Not Invisible Act and the Savanna’s Act into law.
  • Included two of amendments in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) aimed at addressing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis.
  • Introduced a resolution recognizing the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month.
  • Fought for Tribal communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through funding in both the CARES and Heroes Act.
  • Authored legislation to address the vast digital divide in Indian Country by introducing the DIGITAL Reservations Act to affirm Tribal nations’ and Native Hawaiian organizations’ ownership of broadband spectrum over their lands to deploy wireless internet services.
  • Prioritized Native American economic development by passing the Native American Business Incubators Program Act into law.
  • Co-led a Democratic Women’s Caucus letter to House Leadership calling for urgent funding and assistance to women and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cosponsored the EACH Woman Act to end the withholding of federal funds for abortion care for women enrolled in Medicaid.
  • Upheld the trust responsibility that the Federal government has with Tribal Nations by passing the bipartisan PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act into law.

Increasing public safety while fighting for justice

  • Held a community panel discussion on racial injustice and police reform with the New Mexico OUT Business Alliance and the African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.
  • Cosponsored and voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a first step to hold police accountable and change the culture of law enforcement, which passed the House in both the 116th and 117th Congress.
  • Introduced the PROTECT Act to demilitarize our local and state police forces.
  • Cosponsored the bill to establish the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, an essential step in properly addressing our country’s ugly history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and racism.
  • Protected our children and families by passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Charleston Loophole bill (H.R. 1112) to implement background check policies that the majority of Americans support, which passed the House in both the 116th and 117th Congress.
  • Stood with Black Lives Matter protestors by cosponsoring the Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act to limit President Trump’s ability to deploy federal forces on civilians.