U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson voted against fellow Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan on Wednesday in the House of Representatives.
Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny says he would have voted against it as well.
The Ryan plan passed the House 228-191.
Rep. Chris Gibson
(Enterprise file photo)
Gibson, a Kinderhook resident who represents New York's 20th Congressional District (the 19th next year), said he voted no because the plan would add more than $200 billion back to defense spending over the next decade. The former Army colonel has said repeatedly that the U.S. spends too much money on its military and that spending hasn't necessarily made the nation safe.
Gibson's spokeswoman, Stephanie Valle, told the Enterprise on Friday that Gibson stands behind his commitment to reforming national security and that a big part of that is bringing costs down.
"He refuses to accept the assumption that we need to spend more to make ourselves safer," she said.
According to Valle, lawmakers cut the Department of Defense budget by $487 million last year, and the military was already preparing for those reductions.
"Quite simply, Gibson believes we don't need to be spending that extra money at a time when we're cutting elsewhere," Valle said. "If he thought we needed to spend more to make ourselves safer, he would do it. But he believes that if we pursue the necessary reforms, we will be safer."
Valle said Gibson supported a spending plan based on the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan introduced last year.
Doheny, a challenger to Rep. Bill Owens in what will become the 21st District (now 23rd), spent several days reviewing the plan. In a prepared statement, he commended Ryan, of Wisconsin, for "creating a blueprint for how America can return to the path of prosperity." But the Watertown businessman said the plan wouldn't produce a balanced budget for decades, and "that simply won't work under our current climate."
Doheny said he would support a budget proposal that seriously addressed the federal deficit, taxes, entitlements and defense. He supports a strong military, but he said no federal agency "runs at perfect efficiency.
"I believe we should undertake a thorough review of the Defense Department to find programs that can be eliminated, scaled back, consolidated or improved," Doheny said. "There are significant savings to be found - and they can be implemented without resorting to dangerous reductions in our ground force or our readiness procedures.
"Democrats, like our current congressman (Owens), believe that our government can continue to spend trillions more than it collects without consequence," he said.
Earlier this week, Owens told the Enterprise he didn't like the Ryan plan because its tax cuts wouldn't allow enough revenue, because it would cut veterans programs, farmers' crop insurance and rural water programs, and because he's concerned House Republicans want to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
"It is not really a bill that focuses on deficit reduction, and it's not a bill that has in it places to compromise," the Democrat from Plattsburgh said.
Kellie Greene of Sackets Harbor, a Republican running against Doheny and Owens, said she was cautiously optimistic about the Ryan budget. In a prepared statement sent to the Enterprise earlier this week, she called the proposal a "definitive major step toward a sound financial solution."
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.