Saturday, February 26, 2011

Owens says government shutdown not likely

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- North Country Congressman Bill Owens is predicting a deal before Friday. Lawmakers are running out of time before an agreement on spending passed last year instead of a budget expires.

Owens says a budget isn't likely, but there may be a short-term extension of that agreement. Democrats and Republicans, though, are at odds over it.

With House Speaker John Boehner demanding major cuts, anywhere from $60 to $100 billion, before he'll agree to an extension. Owens says he's not opposed as long as the cuts are spread out evenly across the board.

"Most people could absorb a two and a half percent cut in current spending and manage just fine. It doesn't mean there isn't going to be pain but at least it's going to be shared pain and it's not based on ideological issues but based on economic issues," Owens said.

Owens and the House actually passed a deal very early Saturday morning, but any deal would also require Senate approval and the Senate isn't around Washington this week, drawing sharp criticism from some with the deadline so close. Criticism Owens says isn't fair.

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