09-27-2021  12:51 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Lawmakers Fail to Agree House Districts as Deadline Looms

Republicans failed to show up for a session to redraw the state's congressional districts Saturday, thwarting majority Democrats’ attempts to pass new political maps before a looming deadline

Oregon School Board Ban on Anti-Racist, LGBT Signs Draws Ire

An Oregon school board has banned educators from displaying Black Lives Matter and gay pride symbols, prompting a torrent of recriminations and threats to boycott the town and its businesses.

New, Long-Term Black Lives Matter Public Art Piece Installed at Seattle City Hall

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture today announced that a new, long-term Black Lives Matter public art piece has been installed at Seattle City Hall.

Black Man Fatally Shot Outside Bend Nightclub, Man Arrested

A Black man was shot and killed outside a bar by a white man in central Oregon

NEWS BRIEFS

5th Annual Yard Tree Giveaway Events to Begin

Free trees for all Portlanders continue Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry division’s mission to grow, preserve, and...

House Passes Historic Abortion Rights Legislation With Support of Reps. Bonamici, Defazio, Blumenauer and Schrader

Today’s vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act comes three weeks after Texas’s radical 6-week abortion ban went into...

Oregon Announces Stabilization Grant Opportunity to Assist Child Care Providers

Oregon received approximately 4 million in grant funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to be paid directly to eligible...

TriMet Plans Weekend Construction Along MAX Red Line to Help Keep Trains Running Efficiently

Shuttle buses will replace MAX Sept. 25-26 between Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport ...

Larsen Chairs Hearing on Surge in Air Rage Incidents, Effects on Workers, Airlines, Airports

The hearing was an opportunity for the subcommittee to examine the alarming increase in disruptive and unruly airline passengers, the...

Greyhound Lines settles lawsuit over immigration sweeps

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Greyhound Lines Inc. will pay [scripts/homepage/home.php].2 million to settle a lawsuit over the bus line’s practice of allowing U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents to board its buses in Washington state to conduct warrantless immigration sweeps, the state attorney general said Monday. ...

Graves of 19th century migrants found on trail in Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Cadaver dogs have found what are probably seven graves of mid-1880s migrants who died in south-central Idaho on the California Trail while crossing what is now the City of Rocks National Reserve. Experts with the Oregon-California Historic Trails and...

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Clemson falls during frenetic afternoon

For about 45 minutes late Saturday afternoon, college football was on overload. North Carolina State went from agony to ecstasy against No. 9 Clemson. Baylor stopped a 2-point conversion to upset No. 14 Iowa State. No. 16 Arkansas finished off No. 7 Texas A&M to claim a Lone...

BC beats Mizzou 41-34 in OT on Flowers catch, Sebastian INT

BOSTON (AP) — Denis Grosel threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Zay Flowers in overtime, and Brandon Sebastian’s interception sealed the victory on Saturday as Boston College recovered after blowing two fourth-quarter leads to beat Missouri 41-34. BC coach Jeff Hafley said he...

OPINION

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Greyhound Lines settles lawsuit over immigration sweeps

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Greyhound Lines Inc. will pay [scripts/homepage/home.php].2 million to settle a lawsuit over the bus line’s practice of allowing U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents to board its buses in Washington state to conduct warrantless immigration sweeps, the state attorney general said Monday. ...

Lower death rates for Black moms is goal of California bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has among the lowest death rates nationally among pregnant women and new mothers, but the numbers for Black mothers tell a different story. They were six times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women from 2014 to 2016...

US Rep. Karen Bass enters race for Los Angeles mayor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass entered the 2022 race for Los Angeles mayor Monday, shaking up an already crowded field hoping to replace outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti. Bass made the announcement online, saying on her website that she planned to focus on...

ENTERTAINMENT

Select list of winners at the Tony Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Select winners at the Tony Awards, presented Sunday night in New York City: Best Musical: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” Best Play: “The Inheritance” Best Play Revival: “A Soldier's Play” Best...

Autopsy: Actor Michael K. Williams died of drug intoxication

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams died of acute drug intoxication in what New York City's medical examiner said Friday was an accidental death. Williams, known for playing Omar Little on “The Wire” and an Emmy Award nominee this year, had fentanyl,...

Tonys Latest: ‘Moulin Rouge!’ wins best new musical crown

The Latest on the Tony Awards (all times local): ___ 10:45 p.m. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie, has danced away with the best new musical Tony Award. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UK mulls calling in army to help ease gas shortages at pumps

LONDON (AP) — Lines of cars formed at British gas stations for a fourth day on Monday, as the government mulled...

Gen. Milley: Whisperer to presidents, target of intrigue

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gen. Mark Milley has been the target of more political intrigue and debate in two years as...

Beyond, Impossible join crowded plant-based chicken market

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods found success with realistic plant-based burgers. Now, they're hoping to...

Man in Poland gets 25-year sentence for murder, cannibalism

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A court in Poland convicted a man on Monday of instigating a murder in 2002 and...

China: 2 Canadians in prisoner swap freed for health reasons

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that two Canadians detained in late 2019 who were...

South Africa pledges more ambitious climate targets

BERLIN (AP) — South Africa pledged more ambitious emissions targets Monday, a move that was welcomed by climate...

Christopher S. Rugaber and Daniel Wagner AP Business Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Just as the U.S. economy is making progress despite Europe's turmoil, here come two new threats.

A congressional panel is supposed to agree by Thanksgiving on a deficit-reduction package of at least $1.2 trillion. If it fails, federal spending would automatically be cut by that amount starting in 2013.

Congress may also let emergency unemployment aid and a Social Security tax cut expire at year's end.

Either outcome could slow growth and spook markets.

Analysts are concerned, but most aren't panicking.

Many say the economy and markets can withstand the blows. That's because Congress or the Federal Reserve could take other steps next year to lift the economy. And investors expect so little from the congressional panel that they're unlikely to overreact whatever it does.

"There's no doomsday scenario in reducing government spending," said David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds.

The 12-member bipartisan panel, or supercommittee, was created in August to defuse a political standoff over raising the federal borrowing limit. If it can't agree on a deficit-reduction plan, automatic spending cuts would hit programs prized by both parties: social services such as Medicare for Democrats, defense for Republicans.

The panel appears to be deadlocked.

Economists say a stalemate makes it harder for Congress to extend the Social Security tax cut and unemployment benefits. On the other hand, if the supercommittee does forge a deal, it might include an extension of those benefits. Or it could at least clear the way for an extension later.

The Social Security tax cut gave most Americans an extra $1,000 to $2,000 this year. Unemployment benefits provide about $300 a week. Most of that money quickly and directly boosts consumer spending, which drives the economy.

By contrast, an expiration of those benefits could cut growth by about three-quarters of a percentage point, economists say. Throw in other cuts, like those passed in the August debt deal, and all told, federal budget policies could subtract 1.7 percentage points from growth in 2012, according to JPMorgan Chase and Moody's Analytics.

Given the tepid economy, such a hit could be damaging.

"It would be very difficult for an economy that's doing well to digest, let alone one that's barely growing at potential," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's. "That could unwind a lot of the improvement we've seen so far."

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter. Some analysts fear it could fall below 2 percent next year, especially if the emergency unemployment benefits and Social Security tax cuts aren't renewed.

The U.S. economy faces other threats, too - from persistently high unemployment to Europe's spreading debt crisis, which could hasten a recession.

If the automatic spending cuts take effect, the defense budget could be cut by nearly $500 billion over nine years. Some contractors are nervous.

Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, has told analysts that the company is bracing for spending cuts.

"It's certainly going to be a more challenging environment" next year, he said.

Another wild card: Some investors fear that the supercommittee's failure would spark fresh downgrades of U.S. debt. Standard & Poor's downgraded the government's long-term debt in August. That contributed to a stock market plunge. It's possible that a deadlocked supercommittee would lead the two other major rating agencies - Fitch and Moody's - to follow suit.

Yet S&P's downgrade did little to tarnish U.S. debt. Treasury prices rose, and yields fell. Bond investors still saw Treasurys as a super-safe investment. Federal borrowing costs actually declined.

"S&P showed that when a rating agency downgrades the best-known security in the world, it has little impact," Kelly said. The market for U.S. Treasurys is so broad, accessible and transparent that ratings downgrades don't pose much threat, he noted.

Kelly said Wall Street is unlikely to panic given that expectations for the supercommittee "are so low as to be subterranean."

Even so, some traders appear to be positioning for a shock. So-called "defensive" sectors of the stock market, like healthcare companies and utilities, which tend to retain their value in a weak economy, have been outpacing the S&P 500 index as a whole.

In the past month, the economy has shown surprising strength. Reports this week showed that manufacturers are producing more goods and consumers are spending more. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits for the first time is at a seven-month low.

Still, more than once since the recession officially ended more than two years ago, the economy has displayed vigor only to stumble again. High gas and food prices and Japan's earthquake sharply slowed growth in the first half of the year. Congress' debt-ceiling fight sent consumer confidence to recession levels.

Sweet thinks there's a good chance Congress will end up extending the Social Security tax cut. Partly on that assumption, Moody's foresees 2.6 percent growth next year. For this year, analysts generally estimate less than 2 percent growth.

Lawmakers could make other policy changes next year to energize the economy. The tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, and extended in 2010, are set to expire after 2012. Republicans will push to renew them.

Some of the automatic cuts set to kick in in 2013 could be delayed or altered. That's particularly true if the White House or either chamber of Congress changes sides in 2012.

And some economists say the automatic spending cuts could actually boost confidence a bit: They would reassure the world that the U.S. government can make progress in shrinking its deficit.

Even so, the supercommittee seems likely to fall short of its goal to help reduce the federal debt load.

And there's more pressure to come.

Priya Misra, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, estimates that Congress will need to find $2 trillion more in cuts by August 2013 to prevent another credit downgrade.

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