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Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 12:46am
EL PASO — When Beto O'rourke took office as El Paso's congressman, one of his main goals was to reduce bridge wait times.
But now, the looming sequester could become another large hurdle in achieving that.
Despite Democrats' urging, House republicans Friday voted to take a recess.
If Congress doesn't act, the sequester will kick in March 1, resulting in more than a trillion dollars in mandatory across the board government spending cuts.
The Dept. of Homeland Security may have to lose the equivalent of 5,000 agents at the borders.
"Sequestration could undermine progress we've made to ensure that visa services are performed in a timely manner," said State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
"You know how hard we've worked to cut the times. The Department of Commerce has estimated that one job is created in America in our travel and tourism industry for every 65 visas that are issued. So, you know, if we have to cut back on consular officers, et cetera, then the wait times can go back up," she said.
Beto O'Rourke took to hit Twitter page after the vote.
He says he voted against taking the recess, and tweeted: "Sequester means: furloughed customs agents = even LONGER lines at our international bridges = less trade and retail shoppers = job losses."
No word on when Congress will take up the sequester issue again.