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Owens calls continuing resolution 'exercise in futility'

North Country Congressman Bill Owens is blasting his Republican colleagues for engaging in what he calls an "exercise in futility."

Lawmakers passed H.R. 1 - the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 - along party lines early Saturday morning.

Owens - the Democrat representing New York's 23rd Congressional District - says it is "unfortunate" that legislators spent an entire week and countless resources debating the continuing resolution.

"We have a short time before our current funding bill expires, and to send a partisan funding bill to the Senate is an exercise in futility," Owens said.

"This week would have been better spent negotiating with the Senate to find a workable compromise, like we did during last year's lame duck session of Congress to extend tax cuts for the middle class," he added.

Owens says if Congress want to get serious about solving the nation's fiscal problems, legislators need to "take politics out of the process."

He adds that a three-percent across-the-board cut would get the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year. That proposed cut would not include self-funding programs like Social Security.

Owens says Congress should have passed a substitute to the continuing resolution, proposed by Representative Steven LaTourette - a Republican from Ohio.

"This substitute would have trimmed spending without focusing Washington's fiscal scalpel with a partisan hand," he said.

"Unfortunately, my colleague's amendment was withdrawn," Owens added.

According to Owens, his proposal would require critical government services to adjust to minor cuts - cuts that wouldn't cause those programs to go under.

He's also calling for an economic analysis of government programs to determine which ones are creating or sustaining jobs, including reviews of all programs and a cost-benefit analysis to determine which services should continue to be funded.

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