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Sequestration will impact Owens’s office, but how is unclear

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The office of U.S. Rep. William L. Owens is bracing itself for the impact of the federal spending cuts scheduled for March 1.

The cuts, collectively known as sequestration, will see across-the-board federal spending reductions if Congress cannot agree on a compromise.

“If sequestration occurs, I anticipate that members of Congress will see a cut in their office budgets,” Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said Thursday in an email message. “While I remain committed to preventing sequestration, I will do everything I can to ensure that any potential cuts to my office budget will not impact the services offered to constituents.”

Mr. Owens’s spokesman, Jon Boughtin, said there was no official word yet regarding the depth of the cuts to congressional offices. Mr. Boughtin said he didn’t “have any guidance” on how the potential cuts could affect Mr. Owens’s office.

A report filed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in September warned that sequestration would result in 8.2 percent, across-the-board cuts to congressional salaries and expenses. Mr. Boughtin cautioned that the information contained in the report, because it is several months old, may not be an accurate reflection of the current situation.

Sequestration would not impact the salaries of representatives, including Mr. Owens, because the salaries of Congress members cannot be cut without a specific vote. It would, however, impact the congressional staff salaries and office expenses.

“I believe this is entirely appropriate as Congress should not be exempt from the consequences of the mandatory spending cuts,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Boughtin said the office does not currently anticipate layoffs, and he was not positive when clearer information regarding the extent of the cuts will be made available.

“I still have some questions,” Mr. Boughtin said.

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