Report: San Antonio will suffer from sequestration

Local Congressmen prepare for big cuts

Author: Charles Gonzalez, Reporter, Anchor,
Published On: Feb 19 2013 06:23:17 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 20 2013 03:48:50 AM CST

Freshman Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Dist. 23, wasn't in Washington when Congress agreed to the plan that put in the initial sequestration deadline and like many Americans, feels almost powerless to stop it.

"There's a matter of days before the sequester hits and where are the members of Congress? They're not in Washington, they're in the districts," said Gallego, referring to the President's Day break Congress is on.

When Congress reconvenes on Monday, it will have just four days to vote to extend the deadline which would bring across the board cuts of $85 billion with half of those coming from the defense budget.

"If you're talking about contractors here in San Antonio this will have an impact on this and I hope that we can reach an agreement," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Dist. 28.

The Army released statistics Tuesday stating the cuts could mean the loss of 300,000 jobs nationwide. Texas could lose nearly 35,000 jobs and $2.4 billion.

"You look at a lot of the maintenance on airplanes for example are done with civilian employees at the department of defense and those employees are the first people who will feel the cuts and those are people who are struggling every day to make ends meet like the rest of us," said Gallego.

"Sequestration is going to hurt San Antonio particularly our military installations," added Lamar Smith, R-Dist. 21. "We have millions and perhaps billions of military spending in San Antonio."

Smith said the ball is in President Obama's court, adding that the House has twice offered "common sense" cuts instead of the across the board cuts.

Smith said the President rejected both plans and putting his support behind a plan backed by Senate Democrats that called for increased tax revenues.

"We can have the same amount of spending cuts but we need to prioritize where we make those kinds of cuts," said Smith.

If Congress does not extend the deadline the cuts will take effect March 1.