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Cuellar addresses border security, Agenda 21, more
Wilson County NewsSeptember 19, 2012 | 1,066 views | 3 comments
As members of Congress meet for a couple of weeks prior to the fall campaign recess, issues such as the Farm Bill and estate taxes are on the minds of many. Recently, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar visited constituents in his district. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep a commitment to the Wilson County News.
As ranking member of the Border and Maritime Security subcommittee on the House Homeland Security Committee, Cuellar addressed border concerns as well as national and international issues, presented by the Wilson County News.
WCN: With all the news regarding border violence on the U.S.-Mexican border, what are the needs that you believe need to be addressed to protect the farmers and ranchers along the border?
Cuellar: In my congressional district along the U.S.-Mexico border, cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement on border security matters is an everyday occurrence. I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the benefits of the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement in the rural areas along our southern border.
In addition, local police and sheriffs departments work alongside the Texas Department of Public Safety and federal agencies such as ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol] on a regular basis to secure our rural communities. These law-enforcement agencies understand that the way to a meaningful border security is to work together to combat the cartels, smugglers, and criminal elements who seek to do us harm.
I have long advocated for strengthening our land borders and supported the passage of the 2010 Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations, which provided $600 million to add more technology, manpower, and infrastructure including 1,000 new Border Patrol Agents; 250 new CBP [Customs and Border Protection] officers at ports of entry; and 250 new ICE special agents investigating transnational crimes.
WCN: Cap and Trade legislation is a concern of many. Are you in favor or against it? Do you believe Cap and Trade will come back for discussion in the near future?
Cuellar: I have always supported an “all of the above” energy approach, and agree there is a need to formulate some sort of national energy plan. However, if I was to draft such a plan today, I would not use Cap and Trade as my model.
WCN: The estate tax issue is a concern of many landowners. With the current legislation set to expire Dec. 31, will Congress take any action to extend or vote on a new bill? If yes, what provisions will be included?
Cuellar: Due to a deal approved in late 2010, the estate tax is among a long list of fiscal issues awaiting action from Congress, including the extension of the George W. Bush-era tax rates and budget sequestration.
In the latest vote on the Bush tax cuts extension -- HR 8 -- it included a provision to maintain the estate tax at its 2011 and 2012 parameters. The measure maintains the maximum estate tax rate of 35 percent while retaining the exemption amount of $5 million. I voted in support of this bill, but I also anticipate more votes to come on the Bush tax cuts until Congress finds a bipartisan, bicameral compromise on the issue.
I have been supportive of maintaining estate relief, but many lawmakers are on different issues so I am aware that we need to find a compromise.
WCN: Are you familiar with Agenda 21? What is your opinion on Agenda 21 or “The Future We Want,” the sustainable development document that came out of the Rio+20 conference held in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?
Cuellar: As you know, this plan was originally signed by President George W. Bush, and has been voluntary ever since.
I understand the need of sustainable development, however, I would never back a plan that endangers an individual’s right to own land, a home, or a car.
Cuellar also addressed the status of the 2012 Farm Bill. For his responses to questions on this issue, see 2D - http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=46036.
Your Opinions and Comments
Publius Valerius Publicola
September 25, 2012 3:53pm
Publius Valerius Publicola
September 20, 2012 9:49am
The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
September 20, 2012 9:42am
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