07-14-2020  10:07 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle Mayor, City Council at Odds Over 50% Police Cut

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the City Council has failed to speak with the police chief or conduct sufficient research

OSU, UO Among 20 Universities Filing Federal Lawsuit in Oregon Over International Student Order

The lawsuit, filed today, seeks to protect the educational status of nearly 3,500 students attending OSU

Governor Kate Brown Announces New Requirements for Face Coverings, Limits on Social Get-Togethers

Effective Wednesday, July 15, face coverings to be required outdoors, social get-togethers indoors over 10 prohibited

Oregon Reports 332 New Coronavirus Cases, 2 Deaths

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, confirmed that Multnomah County is not ready to apply for Phase 2 of reopening

NEWS BRIEFS

NNPA Livestreams With Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Val Demings

The audience has an opportunity to be an interactive part of the interview ...

Black Women Often Ignored By Social Justice Movements

‘Intersectional invisibility’ may lead to Black women’s exclusion, study finds ...

Deadline is July 15 to Pay Portland's $35 Arts Tax

The tax, approved by voters in 2012, supports arts education and grants ...

Oregon National Guard Completes Wildland Firefighter Training

The training was conducted using funds that were allocated to the Department of Defense by Congress to enable the National Guard to...

OSU Science Pub Focuses on Influence of Black Lives Matter

The influence of the Black Lives Matter movement will be the focus of a virtual Oregon State University Science Pub on July 13 ...

Wedge wolf pack attacks 7 cattle in northeast Washington

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Wedge wolf pack in northeast Washington has attacked seven more cattle, bringing the number of depredations by the pack to nearly a dozen since May 11.The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated and confirmed the depredations on Saturday at a private...

Seattle mayor, City Council at odds over 50% police cut

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Monday blasted the City Council's plan to cut the police department's budget by 50% and instead proposed transferring a list of functions like the 911 call center and parking enforcement out of the agency's budget.“We need to invest in...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

COMMENTARY: Real Table Talk

Chaplain Debbie Walker provides helpful insight for self-preservation, and care tips for your family, your neighbors, and your community circles ...

Commissioner Hardesty Responds To Federal Troop Actions Towards Protesters

This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear: this should never have happened. ...

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Ethiopia enters 3rd week of internet shutdown after unrest

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ethiopia is entering its third week without internet service for almost everyone after days of deadly unrest, as the government in Africa’s diplomatic and aviation hub says it’s trying to prevent speech that could further inflame ethnic tensions.The internet...

Philadelphia protesters sue city over tear gas, use of force

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three class-action lawsuits filed in Philadelphia on Tuesday accuse the city of using military-level force that injured protesters and bystanders alike during peaceful protests against racial inequality and police brutality. One lawsuit accuses Philadelphia police of...

Video shows man vandalizing NYC 'Black Lives Matter' mural

NEW YORK (AP) — Surveillance photos and video of a man who was seen splashing red paint on the “Black Lives Matter” street mural in front of Trump Tower was released Tuesday by New York City police.The video shows a man in black shorts and a dark blue T-shirt pouring red paint...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sheriff: 'Glee’ star Naya Rivera saved son before drowning

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Glee” star Naya Rivera ’s 4-year-old son told investigators that his mother, whose body was found in a Southern California lake Monday, boosted him back on to the deck of their rented boat before he looked back and saw her disappearing under the...

Tom Bergeron, Erin Andrews exit 'Dancing With the Stars'

NEW YORK (AP) — The dance has ended for “Dancing With the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.ABC said in a statement that the show is looking to “embark on a new creative direction” and host Bergeron “departs the show with our sincerest thanks and...

Back to the '80s: Andrew McCarthy writing 'Brat Pack' book

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor-writer-director Andrew McCarthy, a 57-year-old father of three, keeps getting asked about his “Brat Pack” years in the 1980s. He is now ready to answer. Grand Central Publishing announced Tuesday that McCarthy's “Brat: An '80s Story” will...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Tom Bergeron, Erin Andrews exit 'Dancing With the Stars'

NEW YORK (AP) — The dance has ended for “Dancing With the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin...

Biden proposes overhauling nation's energy sector by 2035

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden released a plan Tuesday aimed at combating climate change and spurring...

White House campaign to help jobless 'find something new'

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new White House-backed ad campaign aims to encourage people who are unemployed or...

Catalan leader demands investigation into Spain spying claim

MADRID (AP) — The speaker of the Catalan regional parliament demanded Tuesday that the Spanish government...

Armenia-Azerbaijan border fighting escalates; 16 killed

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenia and Azerbaijan forces fought Tuesday with heavy artillery and drones,...

Russia seeks prison terms for 3 youth group members

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Tuesday demanded prison terms for three members of a youth group...

McMenamins
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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