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October 11, 2013

Local officials optimistic over shutdown talks

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, said Wednesday he is encouraged by recent developments in Washington. He said he was hopeful that talks that began Thursday between Republican congressional leaders and President Barack Obama could lead to a short-term increase in federal spending and a short-term reopening of government.

Earlier in the day, local people in business and nonprofits expressed optimism about increasing the debt ceiling, when that seemed to be the focus of the talks.

“I’m encouraged that our leaders are now talking,” Gibson said. “This should have been the case all along.” In this country, “our leaders have a responsibility to sit down at the table and talk.”

He appreciated what Obama said about how a short-term extension of both the debt ceiling and a continuing resolution would lead to his willingness to talk about tax reform, the health care law and tightening spending.

“Let’s get that in writing and let’s do it,” Gibson said.

He was part of a bipartisan discussion Thursday called “No Labels” that called for an end to government shutdown, according to his media release. The group is calling for a temporary spending measure that includes a repeal of the medical device tax included in the Affordable Care Act. This provision has attracted bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. To ensure that it doesn’t increase the deficit, the proposal includes an offset in pension reform.

Earlier in the day, it appeared that the two sides would be reaching an agreement on a temporary extension to the debt ceiling.

NBT Bank Senior Vice President Jamie Reynolds said having it resolved, even in the short run, is better than the current situation.

“It would take some of the uncertainty off the table,” which makes it more likely for consumers and business to spend

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