Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today on the negative impact that the arbitrary cuts of sequestration are having on New Mexico.
"While the full effect of the sequester is still coming into focus, it is apparent that New Mexico is already feeling the negative impacts of these arbitrary spending cuts. At a time when too many families are already struggling to get by or find work, these deep spending cuts are only going to make this situation worse.
"In recent days we have learned that workers at Bandelier National Park will face furloughs, and today the FAA announced that towers at Santa Fe Municipal Airport and Double Eagle II Airport in Albuquerque will be closed due to the sequester's spending cuts. New Mexico workers who are going to see their hours reduced and paychecks cut are going to feel the pain of these spending cuts.
"Federal agencies will continue to provide more information over the coming days and weeks, however they have already made it clear that the sequester's cuts will have a toll on New Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security has warned that furloughs and hiring freezes are possible, while the Department of Energy has estimated a $61 million cut to funding for contractors at Los Alamos National Lab, which will create a ripple effect in our economy. In addition, the Department of Interior anticipates cuts to the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that helps our rural communities build schools, improve roads, and hire first responders. The Department of Education estimates cuts of $5.6 million to Title I funding for low-income students, $4.7 million to Impact Aid, and $4.3 million to IDEA funding.
"I have been opposed to the failed experience of sequester every step of the way because of the negative impact it was going to have on New Mexico. Sadly, we are beginning to see what the true impacts of these cuts really are. With members of Congress back home in their districts during the Easter work period, I hope that Congressional Republicans who have advocated for these cuts will see the impact they are having in their own communities and in communities like ours, so that when they return to Washington there will be a willingness to come to the table and work toward a balanced plan that addresses these cuts."