Today, Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Pete Gallego (TX-23), and Beto O' Rourke (TX-16) unified efforts to address the impact these automatic and arbitrary spending cuts will have in their respective districts when sequestration goes into effect this Friday, March 1.
Earlier this week, the White House released a state-by-state report detailing the devastating impacts the sequester will have in Texas, especially along the border. According to the report, some of the areas in Texas that will be greatly impacted under sequestration include law enforcement, border security, health and education, and small businesses.
"Since coming to Congress in 2005, I have worked to reform government spending in order to reduce the national deficit and debt, but making these arbitrary cuts because Congress will not act will only harm our improving economy and stall job creation. In Texas alone, benefits to small businesses, such as loan guarantees, would be reduced by $900 million, hindering economic growth for small business owners. If Congress does not come up with a solution by Friday, these additional cuts will result in over 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 2,750 CBP officers being reduced from the workforce. These jobs are critical to my district, the national economy, and our national security. We must act now to avert the sequester, protect American jobs, and get back to work," said Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo).
"American residents across the board will face problems if the deadline is allowed to pass. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, airline travel will be interrupted and education programs like Head Start and Title 1 will see cuts, federal agency employees will be furloughed which means longer lines for constituents who need help, and those are just some of the severe problems we face if Congress doesn't act now. Texas will not escape these drastic cuts, in fact it will be hit hard. Rest assured that many members of Congress do not want sequestration and that includes me. Sequestration is tantamount to using a machete to make cuts to our budget. Instead we want thoughtful solutions that will reduce our deficit and strengthen our economy," said Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D- Mercedes).
"On behalf of all Texans, I have joined with my colleagues to call on the House Republican leadership to do what is right for our nation's economy, security and families and take action this week on a balanced plan to avert these damaging and mindless spending cuts. To date, Senate and House Democrats have offered fair, balanced plans to avert these damaging cuts. These proposals are built on responsible spending cuts, increased revenues, and growth with jobs. Yet Republicans have refused to work toward compromise on a plan to reduce the deficit because they refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes. With every passing day, thousands of jobs are at risk, the security of middle class families hang in the balance, and the safety of neighborhoods across the state of Texas are in jeopardy. Our nation's economy cannot afford any further uncertainty, obstruction, and delay. Too much is at stake," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D - Houston).
"Friday's sequester will negatively impact our national security and our education system. The men and women on the front lines of our nation's efforts to eliminate terrorism and drug trafficking will be furloughed and suffer drastic cuts in pay. Our nation's disadvantaged and disabled children will lose access to federally funded programs essential to their educational advancement. It has also been reported that ICE released hundreds of undocumented immigrants ahead of the sequester. I am not in a position to comment on the motive of a federal agency, but clearly the effects of sequestration on issues of Homeland Security are coming like a freight train should Congress fail to act," said Congressman FilemonVela (D-Brownsville).
"In small town West Texas, when there is a fire, everyone works together to put the fire out. No one focuses on how the fire started or who started the fire until after the fire is out. Here and now in Washington, many folks are more focused on who is to blame for the sequester than in trying to do anything about it - or worse, they use inflammatory rhetoric to add fuel to the fire. Not having a vote this week is a decision by some in Congress for decreased border security, job loss, and furloughs. It devastates local communities- and the State of Texas. Let's put politics aside and let's work together to avert the sequestration," said Congressman Pete Gallego (D-Alpine).
"It is time to stop playing games and blaming others for the sequester. El Pasoans are not concerned with who is at fault, but they are worried about irresponsible cuts to education and Head Start, cancelled flights at El Paso International Airport, delays in processing Social Security benefits, and regular four or five hour wait times at our ports of entry if Customs and Border Patrol Agents are furloughed. These draconian cuts could cripple economic growth and actually make it more difficult to solve our very real debt problems. Let's find a solution and vote on it and not leave town until we do so," said Congressman Beto O' Rourke (D- El Paso).