Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-24) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) wrote to Speaker John A. Boehner to highlight the impact of the sequester on Port Heuneme in Ventura County, California . The elimination of overtime for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, implemented on March 1, 2013, has already had a clear impact on the Port of Hueneme, delaying required cargo inspections and costing shipping companies thousands of dollars.
It's critically important that the House leadership knows the many concrete ways that sequestration is affecting our districts and local economies. Far too often we've heard prominent members of House leadership downplaying the impacts of the sequester. But this ambivalence has genuine consequences at home. That is why it's incumbent upon us to make sure they know that the impacted of sequester is real and that we need to work towards a balanced approach to stop these cuts," said Congresswoman Capps.
Text of the letter is included below.
Dear Speaker Boehner,
The effects of the arbitrary, across the board cuts triggered by sequestration are already being felt on the Central Coast of California. While we know that in the coming days, weeks, and months the impact of these cuts will touch a wide range of sectors, from education to health care to housing, we want to bring to your attention one example from Ventura County, California that exemplifies the harm caused by the sequester.
The elimination of overtime for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents--just since March 1, 2013--has already had a clear impact on the Port of Hueneme, delaying required cargo inspections and costing shipping companies thousands of dollars. These cuts are having a ripple effect, negatively impacting private shipping companies that transport everything from automobiles to produce to the United States.
Reporting on the problems caused by the elimination of overtime for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, the Ventura County Star writes:
"Port administrators estimate Monday's (March 4th) delay cost the shipping company at least $5,000 in labor alone, whereas overtime for the CBP officers would likely have cost a few hundred dollars Ships that dock at the Port of Hueneme are often delayed by weather and periodically arrive on Saturdays, so the port depends on flexibility in CBP inspections." Hoops, Stephanie. "Port of Hueneme feels effect of sequestration as idling ships await inspectors." Ventura County Star 5 March 2013.
On your March 3rd appearance on "Meet the Press" you stated that "I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not. I don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work."
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that in less than a week since the sequester has gone into effect, these cuts are already hurting local economies. We urge you and the Republican leadership to come to the table to work towards a balanced plan to stop these cuts and replace them with a combination of smart spending cuts and new revenue.
Our local communities on the Central Coast and across the nation depend on it.