CANTON - Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said the fiscal wrangling over the government shutdown and federal default could play a major role in the 2014 mid-term elections if a grand bargain remains elusive.
Last night a compromise bill was rushed through Congress that funds the government until Jan. 15 and increases the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
Mr. Owens, noting that the continued funding of the government maintains sequestration-level spending, said, I am delighted that this process is over at least temporarily. The country needs stability, and we cant continue to do this kind of activity.
I am pleased with this bipartisan, responsible deal to reopen the government and pay our bills, Mr. Owens said. Americans deserve better than the last 16 days, and I will work with members of both parties to come up with a rational path forward that ends managing by crisis, grows the economy, creates jobs and reduces the debt and deficit.
The congressman, who is seeking reelection next year, said in an ideal world a long-term solution to the recent budget issues would be settled upon by the Jan. 15 and Feb. 7 deadlines.
If a deal isnt reached, however, and the can is kicked further down the road, Mr. Owens said, It will become an unfortunately serious part of the [campaign trail] in 2014.
Many [Republican] senators are saying we cant let this happen again, Mr. Owens said. I have not heard that from my colleagues [in the House of Representatives] on the other side of the aisle.
But Mr. Owens said he is optimistic that a compromise that returns some semblance of fiscal stability to the federal government will be worked out in the next three months.
The vast majority of my Republican colleagues are reasonable people who want to get things done, he said. I dont sense from the majority of the Republican Party the same kind of hostility that is portrayed in the media. But look at who is talking to the media: its usually the people furthest on the left or the right.