Thornberry talks sequestration with Amarillo leaders - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Thornberry talks sequestration with Amarillo leaders

Posted: Updated:

AMARILLO - The entire economy is heading for turmoil in just eight days if the federal government does not reach a deal to stop sequestration.

Today U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R) stopped in Amarillo to explain the effect this could have on the panhandle.

Pantex and Bell Helicopter are the two local businesses with the most at stake because sequestration would cut the defense budget in half.

But Thornberry says there will be many more unexpected consequences. Programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the food stamp program will not directly be affected by the March first cuts.

But Congressman Thornberry said "there will be consequences, even for those programs that are exempt."

He gave the example of veteran health care, which is exempt. But the administration at the VA is not, which could affect veteran services.

Education could suffer with thousands of children dropped from the Head Start program.

The beef industry could suffer because thousands of plant inspections are expected to be cut.

The long-term unemployed could lose an average of $400 in benefits.
    
Those are just a few of examples.

"I think the bottom line, for me at least, is that we do have to cut spending. Spending has been growing too fast, but we need to cut it in smart ways, not these across the board cuts that are going to affect the good and the necessary," Thornberry said.

One of those smart ways Thornberry says is to delay implementing Obama's healthcare law for two years.
      
Last week Thornberry filed a bill that would do just that.

"The healthcare bill is so expensive, that if you delay it two years, you save 130 billion dollars," Thornberry said. "And what I propose to do is to take those savings and substitute those for the savings that would come from sequestration."

Thornberry will work to pass that bill next week, but he's not optimistic about it happening.

"If we are unable to do that, then I think at a minimum we need to pass a defense bill so that there's flexibility to move money around in the defense budget so you don't have to cut body armor the same that you cut the grass mowing at the bases for example," Thornberry said.

Military salaries and everything Afghanistan is exempt from the cuts. But 2500 Pantex employees could be furloughed for up to 22 days, as could thousands of FBI employees.

Bell Helicopter will be affected as well, Thornberry said. But he could not predict exactly how.

  • Today's Local News HeadlinesToday's Local NewsMore>>

  • Single car wreck kills one man

    Single car wreck kills one man

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:59:01 GMT
    One man is dead after a single car wreck on I-40.Police say Aaron Clay Crawford, 26, died after he was ejected from a vehicle Saturday afternoon.
    One man is dead after a single car wreck on I-40.Police say Aaron Clay Crawford, 26, died after he was ejected from a vehicle Saturday afternoon.
  • One dead after motorcycle wreck

    One dead after motorcycle wreck

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:58:14 GMT
    Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a man was pronounced dead after a wreck involving two motorcycles. Police say two men were traveling south on the Canyon E-way near the Hillside exit when one of the motorcycles stuck the back of a Toyota Camry. One male killed and the other motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital. Both the driver and the passenger in the Toyota were also taken to the hospital with minor injures.
    Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a man was pronounced dead after a wreck involving two motorcycles. Police say two men were traveling south on the Canyon E-way near the Hillside exit when one of the motorcycles stuck the back of a Toyota Camry. One male killed and the other motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital. Both the driver and the passenger in the Toyota were also taken to the hospital with minor injures.
  • Community helps support para-athletics in Amarillo

    Community helps support para-athletics in Amarillo

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:43:42 GMT
    Back in February we introduced you to Emilee Hibish, now a Senior at River Road High School. For years she was forced to sit on the side line watching her friends compete in sports because she was wheelchair bound. 
    Back in February we introduced you to Emilee Hibish, now a Senior at River Road High School. For years she was forced to sit on the side line watching her friends compete in sports because she was wheelchair bound.