U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
U.S. Congressional News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District highlighted a new report that was released by the Obama Administration that reinforces the need to prevent the sequester’s indiscriminate cuts from taking place.
The cuts are scheduled to begin on Friday, and threaten to harm the economy and result in significant job losses in New Mexico and around the country.
The sequester was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which Luján voted against.
“From education to public safety, the sequester’s arbitrary cuts will hurt our economy at a time when too many New Mexicans are already struggling to get by,” Luján said. “This new report further outlines the impact these arbitrary cuts will have on our state and reinforces the need for Congress to come together and find a compromise on a balanced approach to prevent these damaging cuts.”
According to the White House report <http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/New-Mexico.pdf>, the sequester will impact New Mexico by cutting:
- $6.1 million in education funding, including putting 80 teacher and aide jobs at risk;
- $4.4 million in special education funding for about 50 teachers, aides, and staff;
- Head Start and Early Head Start services, eliminating access to early education for approximately 500 children;
- $1.2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean air and water along with $877,000 in grants to protect fish and wildlife;
- $135,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, crime prevention, and drug treatment and enforcement; and
- $257,000 in funding for job search assistance and training to help people find work.
In addition, approximately 7,000 civilian Department of Defense employees across the state would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by approximately $42 million.
The threat of sequestration has already impacted the national labs in New Mexico, as Los Alamos National Laboratory took steps in 2012 to control spending in the face of budget uncertainties this year. Additional furloughs at the Lab remain a possibility if the sequester occurs.
“It is disappointing that with the clock ticking, Republican leaders recessed the House last week instead of staying in Washington and getting to work,” Luján said. “I am hopeful that with the House returning this week, my Republican colleagues who have started to think the sequester is a good idea, will have had – as I did – conversations with constituents who will be impacted by these cuts. Their voices and their stories, on top of this latest report, should make it clear that we must find a better way forward.”