$1 trillion less
Congressman: Debt down to $492 billion
By Philip Balli
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 1:55 AM CDT
The U.S. budget deficit has decreased by nearly $1 trillion since its peak in 2009, Congressman Henry Cuellar said Monday at a Laredo Gateway Rotary Club meeting.
Cuellar was a guest speaker at the meeting where he addressed attendees on a number of topics, including the nation’s budget deficit, job growth, Ebola and the ISIS threat.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government’s deficit will fall to $492 billion this year.
Cuellar attributed the decrease to fiscal restraint, the wind down of two wars and economic growth.
“The U.S. economy is doing a lot better; in the last quarter, we finally added all of the jobs we lost since the recession of 2008,” Cuellar said.
“Now that we’re back to normal, we are working to create more jobs.”
Cuellar cited information from the Labor Department indicating there have been more jobs added to the economy under President Barack Obama’s first four years than all eight years of the George W. Bush presidency.
Cuellar said that some areas are doing better than others.
“South Texas and the border of Laredo are bright spots because of the trade and oil and gas industries,” Cuellar said.
“We’re just blessed to have an abundance of both of those factors that are so important to our area.”
The current Ebola crisis in West African nations depicts how small the world is, Cuellar said, referencing the patient in Dallas who recently died from the virus.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S., was being treated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Now a nurse who cared for Duncan has become the first person known to contract the virus while in the U.S.
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday that the nurse was “clinically stable,” but that investigators have yet to determine how she was infected.
“What happens in one part of the world can certainly have an impact here,” Cuellar said.
“We have to look at whether our hospital systems are ready for that.”
The ISIS threat is another factor that can show how small the world is, Cuellar added, referencing the terrorist organization’s tactics of recruiting through social media.
“Our world is connected in so many ways, and we have seen some of the revolutions that have come from social media,” Cuellar said.
“ISIS is using social media to recruit people from the U.S. and part of Europe.”
Cuellar said ISIS differs from other terrorist organizations in a number of ways.
“If you think about terrorist groups in the past, you picture them in old pickups holding beat up rifles,” Cuellar said.
“When you think about ISIS, you see them in black uniforms driving tanks and Hummers.”
Cuellar added that intelligence information says that ISIS makes approximately $1 million to $3 million per day from oil fields they have taken over in Iraq.