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#GOPSequester: "El Paso in line of fire"

by: Shelby Alexander

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:30 AM CST

We've seen a great deal of information about how the sequester will hurt Americans in health care, housing, disaster and emergency services, and the majority of other services funded by the federal government. However, not everyone in US will be affected equally. Border cities in Texas are looking to bear the greatest burden of the sequester cuts.

El Paso, is one of the cities in Texas greatly threatened by the sequester cuts because of its heavy reliance on military services and international trade. Fort Bliss and trade with Mexico have long driven its local economy.

The El Paso Times hammered down on what the sequester cuts mean to the city:

Our predicament is that a large part of the $85 billion in spending cuts is aimed at the military and border agencies. Fort Bliss is one of the nation's largest. military installations. There are 11,000 civilian employees at Fort Bliss who may have to docked in pay by 20 percen by April 22.

El Paso is also home to virtually every branch of federal law enforcement. Three deal largely in border issues: [Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations] employ some 6,000 area residents. If the congressional impasse continues, those agencies plan up to two weeks of furloughs for all employees."

While El Paso's congressmen Beto O'Rourke and Pete Gallego have shown urgency to move forward to address sequestration, our Senators have been dismissive of what the impacts of the sequester mean to the Sun City:

"Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said such fears are overblown. Cornyn said the automatic $85 billion in spending cuts represents only a 2 percent reduction in the overall federal budget. It appears Cornyn is speaking more about overall effects to the nation and to the parts of Texas that are not home to the military and are border cities."

El Paso's congressional representatives, unlike our Senators, understand what is on the line. Both O'Rourke and Gallego have boldly spoken on how the sequester impacts benefits for veterans and military employees. What we have seen time and time again is that John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are only interested in using their positions to make noise, not to face the practical reality facing Texans. As the sequester persists, El Pasoans and other people living on the border will be forced to bear with these with these results until the GOP decides that all of our residents matter.


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