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Owens, Gibson vote against defunding NPR

The region's two representatives in Congress voted against defunding National Public Radio late last week.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 228-192 along party lines to ban the use of federal funds for NPR programming. Every Democrat in the House and seven Republicans voted against the measure.

Republican Chris Gibson of New York's 20th Congressional District and Democrat Bill Owens of New York's 23rd Congressional District both voted against the legislation.

Gibson says he voted against the bill because local affiliates of NPR like WAMC and North Country Public Radio provide a "valuable service" to his constituents - especially in rural communities.

He adds that he weighed his vote "carefully," noting that had the bill returned federal spending to 2008 levels, he would have voted for it.

"Had this vote been to reduce federal funding to that level instead of eliminating it outright, I would have voted 'yes,'" Gibson said.

Looking forward, Gibson says the unveiling of the GOP budget later this spring will make "significant" progress in reducing the deficit and "restoring fiscal responsibility."

"We are working through the details of that now and I'm confident that it will appropriately address the severity of the situation," he said.

Meanwhile, Gibson's Democratic colleague, Bill Owens, also voted against the bill.

Following his vote, Owens reiterated his support of a three percent across-the-board cut to all federal programs.

"This would help both parties to compromise and reach the original funding cut level originally proposed by the House majority," he said, noting the only exception to the proposed cut would be Social Security, which is self-funding.

The U.S. Senate is unlikely to support the House bill, and President Barack Obama has said he strongly opposes the legislation.

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