HispanicBusiness.com asked congressional leaders, governors and mayors to respond to several questions directly related to the Sequestration and Transparency Act of 2012. Because the mandated cuts will impact every state, county and locality across the country, HispanicBusiness.com's editorial team reached out to more than a dozen Republican and Democratic policymakers from states with significant numbers of Hispanic constituents, including Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Utah.
A few lawmakers and one administration official respectfully declined to respond to sequestration-related questions. Some responded immediately.
In the coming weeks, we anticipate more policymakers will participate in this important dialogue with HispanicBusiness.com readers, as the issue of mandatory budget cuts once again takes center stage and the presidential election approaches.
Q&A With U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez
U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez has represented California's 39th congressional district since 2003. She is co-founder and co-chairwoman of the Labor and Working Families Caucus, serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the United States House Committee on Ways and Means. She is the ranking member on the House Ethics Committee and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
In 2009, Sanchez introduced the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act in response to the suicide of teen Megan Meir.
HispanicBusiness: If across-the-board cuts to defense and other federally supported programs occur, as currently mandated under the Sequestration Act, do you fear the U.S. will see an increase in unemployment? Is there a significant risk that the U.S. economy will slip into another recession?
Linda Sanchez: It's not just defense cuts that we need to be concerned about. Across-the-board, draconian cuts to critical domestic programs could devastate our current economic recovery. To help grow the economy, we need to invest in the American people.
We have to support investment in research and development. If we make drastic cuts to these programs, we risk losing the economic progress we've made over the last 30 months.
HB: Is it feasible that a bipartisan agreement will be reached in time to avoid an economic crisis. Are you optimistic that it will happen or concerned that it won't?
LS: I remain optimistic that we can reach an agreement. I am hopeful this agreement will be one that works for the American people and will support our economic recovery.
HB: Elaborate on whether you are willing to support a bipartisan compromise agreement that spares severe cuts to defense and other federally supported health and education programs that traditionally help disadvantaged Americans and spur economic growth.
LS: I voted against the Budget Control Act because the deep, mandated cuts will have dire economic consequences. I would support a balanced compromise that responsibly reduces the deficit and raises revenues so that we can invest in America's future and also protect our national security.
HB: Are you concerned that the mandatory cuts now set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, will negatively impact the residential and commercial real estate markets? Why or why not?
LS: These mandatory cuts would be deeply destructive to our economic recovery, period. The housing crash in 2008 started our greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. Knowing how intertwined the economy and the housing market are, I am very concerned that real estate markets could be negatively impacted. If the economy shrinks, the real estate market could slip as well.
Sequestration Q&A: US Rep. Raul Grijalva
Sequestration Q&A: Sen. Marco Rubio
Sequestration Q&A: US Rep. Linda Sanchez
Sequestration Q&A: US Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
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