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]