Owens: Obama's budget 'inconsistent'

North Country Congressman Bill Owens says he's still parsing through President Barack Obama's spending plan, but he's already found some inconsistencies.

President Obama's budget totals $3.7 trillion in spending and cuts the federal deficit by about $1.1 trillion over a 10-year period. He's cut spending from federal programs by some $100 billion.

But Owens, the Democrat representing New York's 23rd Congressional District, says lawmakers and the president should instead promote an across-the-board reduction of no more than three percent.

He also believes the budget doesn't do enough to cut the short-term deficit.

"I'm also concerned that there's some of the same activity the GOP is using, where you're slashing programs as opposed to sharing the pain," Owens said. "I'm more inclined to look for a 2.5 to 3.5 percent across-the-board cut. Then, if the president wants to do some reallocation of some dollars inside the budget, that makes sense. But we need to start with a general approach as opposed to just cutting programs."

Critics of Obama's fiscal plan are sounding alarms over cuts to airport funding, Pell grants, and other federal programs. Meanwhile, Republicans say Obama's budget doesn't go far enough.

Owens says if spending reductions were more equitable, there would be less discussion about having to choose one program over another.

Meanwhile, he blasted Obama's proposal to cut 50 percent from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

"That has a huge impact in our district for people who need assistance for heating oil during our very cold winters," Owens said. "I'm not inclined to see that drop by 50 percent - two or three percent cut, we could all live with. A 50 percent cut basically eviscerates the program."

Owens says lawmakers need to pull back and look at the big picture as opposed to attacking specific budget items.

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