It didn't take long for U.S. Rep. Bill Owens' campaign team to ask the question: Does Matt Doheny back Mitt Romney's choice for vice president?
It sounds like Doheny does, based on a statement he issued Monday morning.
Not long after Romney's campaign announced Saturday morning that his running mate is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Owens' campaign manager, James Hannaway, issued a statement asking whether Doheny backs Ryan's budget plan, which Democrats say will gut Medicare and force senior citizens to pay more for their health care.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin
Rep. Bill Owens, left, and Matt Doheny
(Enterprise file photos)
President Barack Obama, left, and Mitt Romney
(AP file photos)
Earlier this year, Doheny said he wouldn't have voted for the Ryan budget because it "doesn't go far enough."
"The Ryan plan guts Medicare, plain and simple," Hannaway said. "It means higher prescription drug costs for seniors, higher retirement ages, and a reopened prescription drug donut hole.
"With Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential nominee, Doheny is going to have to answer the question - does he stand with Paul Ryan, or does he want to gut Medicare even more?"
In an emailed statement, Doheny said Congress needs to work on a plan that will encourage job growth throughout New York's 21st Congressional District and the country. He said in the two years Owens has been in office, unemployment across the district has increased by more than 5,200 people, and the national debt has increased by $4 trillion.
"Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are ready to take on these challenges," Doheny said. "Like me, they understand that the cost of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and debt service will exceed total federal revenues in a little more than a decade. These programs are going bankrupt and we need real leadership to address these problems.
"All the Obama-Owens team has offered is scare tactics, while cutting Medicare by more than $500 billion so that government could regulate more of your health care."
The claim that Democrats "cut" Medicare by $500 billion has been debunked by several fact-checking ventures, including FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.
"The Affordable Care Act contains about $564 billion in cost-savings measures for Medicare over 10 years," states a June 2012 PolitiFact report. "But the definition of a cut means there would be a reduction in spending. That's not the case here. Medicare spending will continue to expand. The law will slow the projected rate of growth."
The Ryan budget also includes $500 billion in Medicare savings over a 10-year period.