Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

January 9, 2013

Owens discusses Congressional priorities

PLATTSBURGH — The “fiscal cliff” has only been shoved back for a time.

In Plattsburgh Tuesday, Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) said resolution of the delayed sequestration cuts and debt-ceiling negotiations are the immediate priority as Congress moves into the new year.

The agreement passed at the start of 2013 to delay sequestration — nearly across-the-board cuts of $1 trillion over 10 years — only added two months to the process.

Those cuts would have broad impacts on local communities as well as the nation, Owens said, including areas such as education and border fluidity. There would be an impact on local services but also employee reductions that would result in less income to be spent in the region.

Owens sees a number of ways to reduce spending. He said allowing Medicare to negotiate its own prescription drug purchases could save $40 billion to $60 billion over that time. A focus on preventive health care, as provided for in the Affordable Health Care Act, could bring another $10 billion in savings. 

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS MEMBER

The congressman said he hopes to work with other members of Congress to push more issues toward bipartisan solutions, but he sees that as a difficult process.

“I think there are more ways to cut federal spending and make government more efficient,” Owens said.

As examples, he said, the U.S. General Accountability Office has studies that show there are 84 programs that evaluate teachers and more than 50 that deal with veterans’ job training.

Owens, who was recently sworn in to serve what is now the 21st Congressional District, said he is in the process of visiting people and businesses in the district, particularly the new areas. 

He is excited to have been named to the 50-member House Appropriations Committee. That body has a hand in providing funding for departments such as agriculture, education, Homeland Security, Armed Forces and others that receive federal funds.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Politics and Elections
CVPH Job Opportunities
Videos: Campaign 2012
Man Has No Regrets Over Romney Face Tattoo Most Voters Support Eliminating the Electoral College Work starts on inauguration stage for Obama's 2nd term Mitt Romney's President-elect website unveiled by accident The Game Pays For New Yorkers To Vote Republicans were simply 'wrong': Gingrich Best Memes for Election Day 2012 Dow Falls More Than 300 Points After Election Best-Worst Celebrity Tweets During Election 2012 Same-sex marriage measure leads in vote count Obama victory leads to celebration in the streets Obama: "We Are One American Family" Romney: "I ran for office because I'm concerned about America" Romney: "We can't risk partisan bickering" Romney HQ Reacts To Obama Win Paul Ryan Re-elected as Representative In Wisconsin Obama HQ Goes Wild During Iowa Returns