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At Fort Drum, Congressman Owens says there’s a “50-50” chance of government shutdown (VIDEO)

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FORT DRUM — There is a “50-50 shot we have a shutdown” of the federal government Oct. 1 because of a budget impasse, U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, estimated Monday.

As lawmakers debate a spending plan for the new fiscal year, one sticking point is Republican demands to defund the Affordable Care Act.

The House of Representatives approved a budget bill that includes a provision defunding the health-care overhaul. The Democratic-majority Senate has not yet approved its own budget bill, but is not expected to go along with the Republican bill, which President Barack Obama has threatened to veto.

“It’s really unclear where we are this week,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens said he was preparing to return to Washington on Wednesday, and that the key part of how the week will go is what the Senate agrees to in their budget bill.

“Ultimately I think we’ll reach some kind of accord, it’s just not clear to me, to answer your question, as to exactly what impact it will have because I don’t know the number that we’re going to fund the government at,” he said. “Once we see that I think we’ll have a much better idea.”

The budget issues came up as Mr. Owens spoke to assembled media on post Monday at a ceremony marking the deployment of the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Mr. Owens said he expected to be in Washington over the weekend, and that there would be a more complete bill to vote on by Saturday or Sunday.

In addition to attending the ceremony, Mr. Owens on Monday also visited the ReEnergy power plant on post, as it waits for a decision from the military about whether it will be picked to supply the installation with biomass power. He also visited the Madison Barracks Shared Use Kitchen in Sackets Harbor.

Video of Mr. Owens’s comments can be found at http://wdt.me/8TBKSR.

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