Spending cuts to impact Port of Houston

Hope for sequester deal falls flat

HOUSTON - Hours before $85 billion in forced spending cuts kick in, there is almost no hope of a last-minute deal in Washington.

The sequester cuts money from defense, schools, air traffic control operations, public health programs, national parks and ports -- including the Port of Houston.

The divide on the sequester has been stagnant leading up to the Friday night deadline, as some say the cuts are needed.

"There's a lot of duplication, a lot of places where we can be more efficient and effective with the tax payers dollar," said Sen. John Coryn (R-Texas).

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has warned about the consequences of allowing the cuts.

"We will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse as some people have said. It's just dumb and it's going to hurt," said Obama.

Houston won't feel the pain immediately, but Mayor Annise Parker said cuts at the federal level will impact Houston's economy.

"We have not been able to quantify it yet because there hasn't been a final decision in any of those agencies about what they're going to do to hit their across the board cuts," said Parker.

Travel in and out of Houston could be impacted. Any cutbacks to the TSA could mean fewer agents, translating into much longer lines at Houston airports and cruise terminals.

The Port of Houston, home to more than 150 private terminals and the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S., is vulnerable because of its reliance on customs and border patrol agents. It also relies on the federal government for dredging to clear the channels for about 8,000 vessels each year.

Opening day flyovers at Houston stadiums as well as appearances by the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels at air shows would also be cut

Residents await a resolution from Washington that likely won't come on time.

"When you have a job to do, you don't get to kick the can down the road you have to find a way to get the job done," said Cathy Homer.

Copyright 2013 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.