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News stories tagged with "washington"

McHugh speaking to reporters during his first visit to Fort Drum as Army Secretary. Photo: David Sommerstein
McHugh speaking to reporters during his first visit to Fort Drum as Army Secretary. Photo: David Sommerstein

Report: McHugh may step down from top Army post

A major newspaper covering the military is reporting John McHugh may step down as Secretary of the Army.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.

Owens: most people will feel pain of sequester

North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the impact of cuts at the federal prison in Ray Brook is on his mind. He says officials there will have some discretion as far as where to cut. "I'm counting on management in those circumstances," says Owens, "to make sure that they do their furloughing in such a way that they do manage this for the safety of the officers and obviously the prisoners."

Owens held a telephone press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss the impacts of the across-the-board federal cuts known as the sequester. The Democrat says the standoff in Washington may only change if the public feels some pain.  Go to full article
Photo of the Day archive: Whit Haynes
Photo of the Day archive: Whit Haynes

Owens a reluctant "yes" on Farm Bill extension

Tucked into the fiscal package passed by Congress last night is a nine-month extension of the farm bill. The massive five-year farm bill expired last fall when the House wouldn't vote on a new version passed by the Senate.

This extension includes a safety net for dairy farmers. But it axes many popular programs.  Go to full article
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant

USDA revises school lunch rules

The federal government is easing its new rules for school lunches. In a letter to members of Congress Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA would remove calorie limits on grains and meats in schools.

At the same time, Vilsack defended the program put in place last fall. He wrote it's ensuring twice the amount of fruits and vegetables in school lunches, and a "substantial" increase in the use of whole grains.  Go to full article

What's out - and what's next - for the farm bill

Yesterday when you woke up, you may not have felt different. But farm country did. The federal farm bill expired because Congress wasn't able to pass a new one by the September 30th deadline.

The farm bill is huge. It funds everything from food stamps to wetlands restoration to school nutrition - in addition to helping to pay for commodities like corn, soybeans, milk, and cheese.

So now that there's no farm bill, it's hard to know what's changed. David Sommerstein joins us to sort through it all.  Go to full article

Plenty at stake in farm bill standoff

UPDATE: Thursday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reports House Speaker John Boehner has officially confirmed that the farm bill won't be taken up until after the November elections.

North Country farmers are anxiously watching the status of the new farm bill in the House of Representatives. The current farm bill expires on September 30. The Senate passed a new five-year, $497 billion farm bill over the summer. But House leadership has yet to let its version come to the floor for a vote. "Tea Party" Republicans want to see much deeper cuts in the biggest item in the bill -- the federal food stamp program.

So what if the Farm Bill isn't passed by the end of the month? How would that affect North Country agriculture?  Go to full article
There’s no Democratic or Republican way to shovel the mud out of the house.

Cuomo blasts federal government on "partisan bickering" post-Irene

Governor Andrew Cuomo last week issued his strongest comments yet over whether the federal government should spend the money to help victims of Hurricane Irene. Karen DeWitt has more:  Go to full article

Congressman Owens: Debt ceiling vote "imperfect", but better than default

Congress passed legislation this week allowing the U.S. to raise its debt ceiling, avoiding an unprecedented default. The bill quickly passed the Senate, and President Obama signed it into law Tuesday afternoon.

North Country Representative Bill Owens voted in favor of the bill, but called the process "unnecessarily ugly."

The last-minute measure passed both the House and the Senate with healthy bipartisan support. In addition to raising the federal debt limit, the legislation promises some $2 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Chris Morris spoke with Owens, who says the bill protects Social Security and Medicare.  Go to full article
High-speed Internet in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, according to New York state
High-speed Internet in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, according to New York state

U.S. House cuts could stop expansion of rural broadband Internet

The annual Agriculture Appropriations Act passed by the U.S. House last week made sweeping cuts to programs ranging from infant nutrition to genetically engineered salmon.

Thanks to an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Owens, it still includes some funding for expansion of broadband Internet to rural areas. The Owens amendment saved $6 million.

That's still a significant cut from the original $22 million and even the reduced allocation is subject to approval by the U.S. Senate.

Either way, many rural residents will be left with the much slower dial-up Internet.

Slic Network Solutions is a Potsdam-based Internet provider. The Company has been using funding from last year's appropriations bill to expand high-speed access along dozens of rural North Country roads. That money isn't affected by the latest cuts.

Slic's President, Phil Wagschal, told Steve Knight that's OK for now, but in the long-term, more government help is vital.  Go to full article

Owens attacks Medicare privatization

North Country Congressman Bill Owens lashed out at Republicans' plan to reduce the federal deficit while backing President Obama's. Speaking in a telephone town hall meeting Thursday, the Democrat from Plattsburgh attacked House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan's deficit reduction plan. Martha Foley reports.  Go to full article

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