Congressman Bill Owens (D - NY), who was just sworn in yesterday, gave a floor speech this evening announcing that he would vote “yes” on the House health care bill known as H.R. 3962. Mr. Owens is the new congressman from New York’s 23rd District. He beat out Conservative Doug Hoffman for the seat after Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Owens.
Mr. Owens is being accused by a local newspaper in his district for breaking several campaign promises. H.R. 3962 does have a public option written into the bill. It seems Mr. Owens has been playing flip-flop a few times with his support of the public option in the bill. The Politico reported back in August that Mr. Owens was against the public option, yet The Gouverneur Times reported today that on October 30th (4 days before his election) he said during a debate he generally supported the public option as it was now written (at that time).:
“A spokesman for Congressman Owens indicated correctly that Mr. Owens had recanted his solid position against public option later in the campaign, clarifying that he did not wish public option to be a ‘litmus test’ for the Health Reform bill and that on Oct. 30th, several days prior to the election, in a debate had stated that he generally supported the public option as it was now written (at that time.)”
Mr. Owens also said he was opposed to cutting medicare benefits, increased taxes on the middle class, and taxing health care benefits. Yet according to the Heritage Foundation there are scheduled medicare cuts and billions in new taxes:
“The real price tag for taxpayers gets higher when the cost of fixing the scheduled Medicare cuts to physicians is included. While House leaders propose to separate it from the larger bill in order to make their health care spending agenda appear less expensive, the CBO estimates the 10-year cost for this “doc fix” at over $200 billion.”
“The new House health care plan includes several tax increases that would cost taxpayers $700 billion over the next 10 years. In addition to the surtax, employer mandate, and individual mandate provisions found in the original bill, H.R. 3962 adds on several new taxes.”
The Washington Times caught up with the brand new Democratic congressman from upstate New York, and asked him about the campaign promises he is being accused of breaking, but Mr. Owens seems to think he does not owe his constituents any explanation of his vote tonight other than telling the Washington Times Water Cooler to read his press release.
What about 2010? Congressman Owens refused to speculate at this point whether or not he felt confident about the 2010 election.
When Mr. Owens’s local paper tried contacting his office, they received the cold shoulder as well:
When The Gouverneur Times attempted to contact Mr. Owens to clarify this information, we received no direct response to our phone or email inquiries.
Finally, The Water Cooler pointed out to the congressman he has no website for constituents and press to contact him to speak of, and a crucial vote is currently going down. His response? The Washington Times received a gmail address of his chief of staff and a “we’re working on getting all those things up and running.” How convenient.