The government shutdown is garnering fierce criticism from Democrats, including Congressman Bill Owens. The Democrat from New York’s 21st district held a conference call with reporters from the region Tuesday afternoon to talk about the potential repercussions.
New York’s 21st Congressional district comprises more than 16,000 square miles of northern New York from the St. Lawrence River in the west to Lake Champlain in the east. Owens said the most immediate and serious problems in the wake of the government shutdown will occur at the district’s largest military installation, Fort Drum.
Owens anticipates that as the shutdown continues, there will be heightened problems for veterans applying for new benefits and seniors seeking Medicare and Medicaid, local workforce investment boards, and attempts to contact federal agencies. He said there would be no impact at the U.S.-Canadian border nor with mail delivery.
The major bone of contention for the Republicans is the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Owens acknowledges that changes should be made to the law, but criticizes Republican tactics.
Owens points directly to a cadre of Republicans for creating the shutdown crisis.
Owens believes the impasse will continue as the deadline for Congress to vote on the debt ceiling approaches.
Franklin County Republican Committee Chair Rolland Thomas acknowledges there is a split within the Congressional Republican caucus, but also believes the GOP was forced to make a stand.
Downstate New York Republican Congressman Peter King told MSNBC there are meetings among Republican lawmakers today aimed at resolving the stalemate over the shutdown. King also said he senses an increasing number of House Republicans are growing weary of what he called "the Ted Cruz wing of the party."