Democrat Bill Owens continued to show his weakness on defense Thursday when he voted against a plan that would have avoided defense cuts that are certain to impact the 21st Congressional District. (Roll Call #577).
“My opponent first voted to cut defense spending by $500 billion, which the Obama administration said Friday would have a ‘devastating impact’ on our country,” said Matt Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties’ candidate in the 21st Congressional District. “Now, he’s refusing to stand up for our soldiers, our schools and our civilian workforce and stop cuts that will lead to 113,000 lost jobs in New York.”
Owens voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which the Obama administration says will force irresponsible, “blunt and indiscriminate” cuts to both defense and non-defense spending. (Roll Call #690, 8/1/11)
The Office of Management and Budget says the 9.4 percent cut in discretionary defense funding – coupled with a 10 percent cut in mandatory defense programs – will “result in a reduction in readiness of many non-deployed units, delays in investments in new equipment and facilities, cutbacks in equipment repairs, declines in military research and development efforts and reductions in base services for military families.”
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said sequestration would result in “the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915 and the smallest Air Force in its history.”
Frederick Vollrath, a senior Pentagon official, has testified that these forced cuts will cause 10 percent of the 800,000-strong civilian workforce in the Department of Defense to lose their jobs. Fort Drum, in both the old 23rd Congressional District and new 21st district, has 4,600 civilian workers. If similar cuts were made, 460 local jobs could be lost.
In addition, the Indian River School District stands to lose $1.38 million in federal impact aid due to sequestration. Carthage Central School would lose $605,730, according to the Center for American Progress.
Owens has also remained silent about the Labor Department’s “guidance” to federal contracts that encouraged them to hold off on giving layoff notices, in violation of federal labor law. Contractors, both local and regional, earned $392.7 million from contracts with Fort Drum alone in fiscal year 2011.
“My opponent said he was ‘confident’ that these irresponsible cuts would never go into effect,” said Doheny. “Yet since the deal was struck 13 months ago, he’s voted against repeated attempts to avoid these dangerous cuts. He may not be willing to stand up for our military, our schools and our civilian workers, but I am.”
In Bill Owens’ new commercial, the Democrat says that “instead of creating stupid regulations, let’s create some jobs.”
“I totally agree – which is why I wish my opponent’s actions actually matched his words,” said Matt Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and the Independence parties’ candidate in the 21stCongressional District. “The truth is this: Our current congressman has supported several ‘stupid’ regulations pushed by President Obama’s administration – and now there are 5,000 more people out of work in his district than there were when my opponent first went to Washington.”
In his commercial, Owens cites the following “stupid” regulations:
· Limiting dust on farms: But according to Bloomberg, the “EPA had never proposed tightening rules on farm dust, and the agency said lawmakers were raising concerns based on a myth about the rulemaking.” [10/17/11]
· Preventing teens from working on the family farm: The Department of Labor said its decision to withdraw the proposed rule “was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.” [04/26/12]
· Classifying spilled milk as an oil spill: The Watertown Daily Times said the EPA first proposed exempting bulk milk tanks in January 2009 – 11 months before Owens took office. [06/20/10]
“My opponent was smart not to take credit in his commercial for ending any of these ‘stupid’ rules,” said Doheny. “One was imaginary. One prompted a collective outcry. And the third was already being settled before he took office.”
Doheny continued: “You may not see it in a commercial, but our congressman has supported several ‘stupid’ Obama administration regulations that would surely lead to job losses.”
· Cement: Owens voted twice against bipartisan legislation that would have delayed implementation of EPA rules against cement manufacturers that would have been cost-prohibitive or “effectively impossible to meet,” prompting layoffs or jobs moving overseas. [Roll Call #764, 10/6/11]
· Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act: After Boeing made a $2 billion investment in South Carolina and created more than 2,000 jobs, the National Labor Relations Board tried to block the company from moving a production line there and adding more jobs. Owens voted against this bipartisan bill, which would have stopped the NLRB’s legal complaint from proceeding. [Roll Call #711, 9/15/11]
· TRAIN Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act, which would delay implementation of new EPA standards for utilities. The bill was in response to the Obama administration’s push for environmental standards that would have threatened the jobs at more than 1,000 power plants and caused customers to pay up to 24 percent more for their electricity. [Roll Call #741, 9/23/11]
· Project labor agreements: President Obama pushes project labor agreements for all federal construction work. Bill Owens has defended this anti-competitive, costly practice by voting four times against House efforts to either prohibit PLAs as a requirement for federal construction projects or to give contractors the option. (Roll Call #302, 5/31/12; Roll Call #267,5/17/12; Roll Call #413, 6/13/11; Roll Call #126, 2/19/11)
· Quickie elections: With the Owens supported “card check” legislation stalled in Congress, the Obama administration proposed changing the rules for union elections – dramatically shortening the time employers would have to prepare for employee unionization. This would create uncertainty for every private-sector employers and could increase labor costs. Owens voted against the bipartisan Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would have reined in the Obama administration’s attempt to impose drastic changes to the workplace. [Roll Call #869,11/30/11]
· BULB Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Better Use of Lightbulbs Act, which would have allowed the sale of inexpensive incandescent light bulbs to continue. Instead, he voted to uphold new standards that will push Americans to use costlier fluorescent bulbs, the majority of which are manufactured in China. [Roll Call #563, 7/12/11]
· REINS Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, which would have required Congress to take an up-or-down vote on major regulations proposed by the administration. It would make members more accountable, and provide a check-and-balance to bureaucratic overreach. [Roll Call #901, 12/7/11]
The current congressman recently told the Glens Falls Post Star that he voted against an amendment that would have blocked the EPA from implementing a rule on cement manufacturers that would have carried a $1 billion compliance cost. (Roll Call #86, 2/17/11)
“No one in the district contacted me about this,” Owens explained to the reporter.
Although unmentioned in the article, Owens also voted against providing additional time to the EPA to create practical, achievable standards for cement manufacturers. (Roll Call #764,10/6/11)
Both of the congressman’s votes would have increased compliance costs and hurt job growth at Lehigh Northeast Cement Plant, according to the article. Lengthening the time for compliance and relaxing the standard “will take some of the pressure off” the Glens Falls manufacturer “from an economic and a timing standpoint,” Owens admitted.
“My opponent didn’t say if he regrets those bad votes,” said Doheny. “He has, however, admitted that his vote to increase taxes on medical device manufacturers will result in job losses – but decided to work toward repeal only after those companies were drawn into the district he’d like to represent.”
Doheny continued: “My opponent is a very passive congressman. If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to come to him and make the case for why he shouldn’t vote to raise taxes or increase compliance costs. He’s obviously not going to make the outreach himself.”
The candidate concluded: “I’m going to be a true representative. I’m going to call the right people and read the research to figure out the economic impact of my vote before I make it. That’s why I support the REINS Act, which would require Congress to take an up-or-down vote on new economically significant regulations. It holds members accountable to their constituents. My opponent opposes the bill, electing instead to pass the buck to unelected bureaucrats like those in the EPA who come up with and implement these disastrous regulations with zero oversight.”
Today the New York State Republican Party responded to DCCC Chairman Steve Israel’s new television ad campaign:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, led by New York’s own Steve Israel, is out with their first campaign ad of the 2012 season, in which they falsely accuse a Republican Congressman of voting to “end Medicare.”
Democrats tried these “Medi-scare” tactics last year, and they failed:
In New York’s 9th Congressional District, Republican Bob Turner won in a three-to-one Democratic district not held by a Republican since 1923 and in a swing Nevada district, the Republican won by twenty-two points.
Neither Barack Obama nor Congressional Democrats have a plan to save Medicare from bankruptcy.
In fact, only one bill in history signed by an American President actually removed funds from Medicare.
It was Obamacare, written by Democrats, signed into law by Barack Obama and passed with the votes of Steve Israel, Dan Maffei, Bill Owens, Paul Tonko, Louise Slaughter, Nita Lowey and Tim Bishop.
Team Obama’s doubling down on a failed attack line speaks volumes about their lack of confidence in their own record.
And Americans know why Democrats don’t want to discuss that:
Obama promised hope and change, but the legacy of his domestic legislative and regulatory agenda is high unemployment, the worst economic recovery in
70 years, four years of trillion-dollar deficits and the most federal government spending since World War II.
Come January, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put America back on the path to fiscal sanity and economic prosperity.