Owens Upbeat About 'Cliff', But Not Farm Bill
North Country Congressman Bill Owens is optimistic a deal can be reached on taxes before the midnight Monday deadline for the so-called 'Fiscal Cliff.'
He's not so optimistic, however, about a bipartisan agreement on the Farm Bill.
Owens said during a phone interview on 7 News At Noon that Democrats have offered to extend tax cuts for families making up to $450,000 a year and individuals making up to $400,000.
President Barack Obama originally wanted the tax cuts to be extended only for families making up to $250,000 a year.
Owens said he's happy about the proposals he's hearing about
"Certainly, from my perspective, it's within the range I talked about."
Owens said he was fine with anything up to $500,000.
"Whether or not Mr. Boehner will be able to enough Republicans to get this passed is yet to be seen," Owens cautioned, referring to House Speaker John Boehner.
He said the legislation will be acted on first by the Senate, then the House.
"Hopefully, it'll get to the floor, get voted on and passed, but it's very difficult to tell how this is going to play out over the next several hours," he said.
Because Boehner failed to get enough votes for his so-called "Plan B" legislation, Owens said it's questionable whether Boehner can muster the GOP votes needed to pass the current compromise.
"I think the real issue is, will there be a sufficient number of Democrats who will vote along with some number of Republicans to pass this bill," Owens said.
Owens said there are about 20 bills reportedly on their way to the House for votes. Unfortunately, the Farm Bill isn't among them.
"It's not on the current list of bills and so there's a lot of concern amongst the bipartisan group of House ag committee members that the speaker will actually bring it to the floor."
There's bipartisan support in the House and Senate to extend the 2008 Farm Bill another year. If nothing is passed before the New Year, officials expect milk prices to double as prices revert to 1948 levels.
"It's not looking good from my perspective, at this point," Owens said.
"Clearly, everyone is going to suffer because of Mr. Boehner's refusal to bring this bill up."
See Owens comments earlier Monday about the fiscal cliff.
Friday, July 3, 2015, Watertown, NY
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