Two weeks of furloughs for Customs and Border Patrol employees. That's the equivalent of losing 5,000 border patrol agents and 2,750 CBP officers all along the border. $75 billion in trade passes through El Paso's ports of entry each year and 100,000 jobs in and around El Paso depend on that trade. If the sequester happens, Secretary Napolitano has warned of 4 and 5 hour waits becoming common at our ports of entry and complete gridlock during peak times.
11,000 civilian employees at Fort Bliss in El Paso will be furloughed for 22 days. These are middle class Americans who care for our wounded warriors when they return from war and make our military bases run efficiently. These individuals will be facing a 20% pay cut, simply because Congress cannot muster the courage to come up with a responsible solution. Heck, last week we could not muster the courage to be in D.C. to work on this issue.
Due to planned FAA furloughs, El Paso International Airport is on the list to have its air traffic control tower shut down at night. This will mean the possibility of 10 cancelled commercial flights and putting the brakes on the largest air cargo facility on the US/Mexico border. This is self-inflicted economic damage that should be avoided.
In addition to the thousands of lost jobs in El Paso, children will bear a large burden through the elimination of 1550 teachers and classroom aides and 4,800 Head Start slots. Why are we asking our most vulnerable kids to pay for the irresponsibility of Congress?
There are real people behind these numbers and they deserve better from us. I stand ready to vote for any reasonable compromise, and perhaps even an unreasonable compromise, to end this dangerous game.