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Owens predicts impact of recent fiscal crisis will be felt in 2014 midterm elections

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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 midterm elections if a grand bargain remains elusive.

Wednesday 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 can’t continue to do this kind of activity.”

The congressman, who is seeking re-election 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 isn’t reached, however, and the can is kicked farther 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 can’t let this happen again,’” Mr. Owens said. “I have not heard that from my colleagues 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 don’t 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: it’s usually the people furthest on the left or the right.”

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