Rep. Owens: Budget agreement in Congress is ‘important breakthrough’
Friday, December 13, 2013 - 3:04 pm

North Country Rep. Bill Owens says the agreement in Congress on a budget is “an important breakthrough that moves us in a positive direction.”

The House of Representatives voted yesterday in favor of a budget plan approved by a House-Senate conference led by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Owens says the agreement will avert another government shutdown as a tactic in budget battles.

According to an analysis by The New York Times, the bipartisan budget compromise will relieve government agencies of the sequester cuts that are now in place and are scheduled to deepen next month.

The plan will increase defense and domestic spending from $967 billion this fiscal year to $1.012 trillion. That number will increase to $1.014 trillion in the next fiscal year, which starts in October 2014.

Even with the increase in spending and reversal of most of the sequester’s cuts, other components of the budget compromise will allow the government to modestly reduce the deficit over 10 years.

“While I would have preferred a bigger deal that further reduced the deficit, I am pleased today’s agreement largely eliminated the sequester and its negative effects on New Yorkers,” said Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh who represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, which stretches from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain.

“This compromise, though imperfect, lays the groundwork for future cooperation on other important issues including the Farm Bill and debt ceiling,” Owens said.

Owens believes the agreement has started some momentum on bipartisan cooperation that might carry through to other negotiations.

“By taking similar bipartisan action on these issues in January, Congress can bring long-overdue certainty to the economy and my constituents and return our focus to what’s most important: creating jobs and growing the economy.”