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Super PAC Targets Heinrich on Sequestration

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Crossroads GPS, a conservative Super PAC, is airing a new television ad in New Mexico’s U.S. Senate race that criticizes Rep. Martin Heinrich’s vote for a debt reduction plan that the ad says could cut 20,000 New Mexico jobs.

“Martin Heinrich voted for deep, automatic cuts that could cost New Mexico 20,000 jobs, cutting $400 million from Los Alamos and Sandia,” the ad says.

Heinrich, a Democrat currently representing the 1st Congressional District, is running against former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

The legislation referenced in the ad would not immediately eliminate jobs in New Mexico, but could result in job losses if Congress fails to reach a deficit-reduction deal by the end of the year, according to an analysis done at the University of New Mexico.

The bill Heinrich voted for stemmed from a congressional stalemate in 2011 on increasing the nation’s debt limit and avoiding a default. The legislation adopted by Congress, which Heinrich supported, established so-called “sequestration” rules that would reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion in the absence of a broader budget deal.

The cuts would apply to defense and nondefense spending over the next 10 years.

Heinrich has said he hopes Congress can reach a deal to avoid sequestration and job cuts, but averting default on the federal debt and a national fiscal crisis was his overriding concern at the time of the vote.

A federal analysis found that sequestration could cut nearly $400 million for nuclear work in New Mexico next year, including Sandia and Los Alamos national labs and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

Lee Reynis, head of the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, conducted an analysis of the sequestration bill last year and found that, if enacted, the cuts could cost about 20,000 New Mexicans their jobs.

Part of the $400 million loss would come from direct job losses at places like Los Alamos and Sandia, and part would come through indirect job losses as federal spending throughout the state’s economy shrinks.

Heinrich’s Senate campaign on Wednesday noted that Wilson is a former board member of Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush.

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— This article appeared on page A4 of the Albuquerque Journal

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