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Lowenthal Warns of Looming Federal Cutbacks in Long Beach

Failure to deal with automatic federal funding reductions could have damaging effects in Long Beach, said U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal.

Long Beach small business, transit, border protection and others areas could all see the impact of pending cuts in federal services beginning March 1 unless Congress acts quickly, said U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal.

Lowenthal said the reductions, known as sequestration, could be staved off if Congress approves a proposal to make responsible cuts while closing tax loopholes.

"I still believe that there are ways to avoid the sequester, but we should all be aware of the potentially damaging effects it may have on our community," the congressman said in a news release.

"We are facing the worst hand in the financial deck; and, doing nothing places our economic recovery at risk and is especially dangerous for America's small businesses. This risky gambling would mean fewer jobs, fewer teachers, fewer doctors, less loan guarantees to small businesses, and less funding for our national security."

Agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection would all be impacted. The Long Beach Airport, which Lowenthal said creates 40,000 jobs in the area, would be impacted if the FAA is forced to furlough up to 10 percent of its staff.

The Long Beach Unified School District could also see cuts amounting to $7.5 million in federal funding. 

"LBUSD has already increased class sizes, eliminated essential programs, delayed infrastructure improvements and laid off far too many teachers," said LBUSD President Felton Williams. "Seqestration will only deepen these cuts — hindering students' abilities to succeed."

Congress resumes session next week, when it will have just eight days to come to a compromise before the March 1 deadline.

John B. Greet February 22, 2013 at 09:27 PM
The abject fear-mongering on the part of many in Congress (including Rep. Lowenthal) concerning the potential sequestration is nothing new and has little basis in reality. At the end of the day, should this sequestration occur, the only thing that would be cut would be the *rate of growth* of federal spending. Federal spending next year would still outpace that of the previous year, just not at the rate tax & spendaholics like Rep. Lowenthal and many others in Congress would prefer. Even if some federal employees and contractors were furloughed (as they have been during past budget "crises") they would ultimately receive back pay when they returned (as they *always* have during past budget "crises.") The nation did not collapse then, and, despite Pres. Obama's current dire predictions, it would not collapse this time either. Despite all of the hyperbole and fear-mongering, I do not believe there will be a sequestration. I believe there will be an announcement of a last minute, 11th-hour, deal that proponents like Rep. Lowenthal will claim is "not ideal but the best we can hope for under the circumstances" or some similar language and we will be facing the very same budget "crisis" again *next* time. At some point a majority of the voters are going to have to wake up and stop tolerating these blatant manipulations and start demanding real accountability from their elected officials. This is me not holding my breath.

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