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Owens calls GOP bill "purely messaging'

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President Barack Obama says congressional leaders will start talking turkey as soon as today on a deal to reduce the deficit and raise the debt limit.

The Republican-controlled House voted last night to slice federal spending by $6 trillion and require a constitutional balanced budget amendment in exchange for raising the debt limit. Senate Democrats and Obama have said that plan is a no-go.

North Country Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat, voted against the bill.
Owens spoke with Chris Morris yesterday as lawmakers were voting on the measure.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

"This is a bill which really follows on the Ryan budget and makes it worse. It's going to wind up cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," Owens said. "It doesn’t really go towards the ultimate goal of deficit reduction. We are not going to get to deficit reduction simply by cutting. We need to have increased revenues and that continues to be ignored in this conversation.

"This is a messaging bill and that’s all it is. It's not likely to be passed by the Senate so it's going to die in probably 24 to 48 hours. They know that. So instead of spending time negotiating something that’s real -  talking to their membership about really what can get done - they are doing a messaging piece. It's a waste of time

What will happen if we don't raise the debt ceiling?

"Clearly there’s a number of things. Some are, if you will, at the national level. Clearly it's going to be more expensive for us to borrow money. We may lose America as the reserve currency of the world, but on a personal basis, your credit card interest rate will go up. Your variable rate – those will go up. It will be more difficult to buy a home, because interest rates will go u. 

What needs to happen to reach a deal on these debt ceiling negotiations?

"We need to move something to the floor that has significant expense cuts and significant revenue increases so that we can really begin to move forward with serious deficit reduction."

Owens says leading economists and the general public support a plan that includes spending cuts and revenue increases. The Congressman spoke with Chris Morris yesterday. Congress is working with an August 2 deadline to either increase the borrowing power or have the government default.

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