10-17-2019  11:24 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

Grocery Workers Union Ratifies Contract with Stores

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has agreed a three-year contract for stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Person with measles passed through Portland airport

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Multnomah County Health Department says a person who passed through the Portland International Airport on Saturday has become sick with measles.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the health department said people who were in the airport during that time may have been...

Court issues temporary stay on flavored vaping ban in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's Court of Appeals on Thursday put a halt to the state's ban on flavored vaping products two days after it took effect.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the temporary stay issued appears to apply only to tobacco-based vaping products, sold under the oversight of...

No. 22 Missouri ready to test road skills at Vanderbilt

No. 22 Missouri (5-1, 2-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).Line: Missouri by 20 1/2.Series record: Missouri 7-3-1.WHAT'S AT STAKE?Missouri can show they play as well on the road as at home coming off a five-game home stand. A win keeps them atop the SEC East....

Bryant bounces back to lead Missouri over Mississippi

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Last week, when he heard a pop in his left knee after being hit low, Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant briefly saw his college football career pass before his eyes. The injury wasn't as bad as it looked, and Bryant played like his old self in a 38-27 victory over...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Kessel scores twice, leads Coyotes past Predators 5-2

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The way Phil Kessel had been playing for the Arizona Coyotes at the start of the season, scoring a goal was just a matter of time.The veteran forward put it all together Thursday night, scoring his first two goals for Arizona, and Christian Dvorak scored his third goal...

Cummings recalled as powerful orator who took on White House

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cumming, who died Thursday at age 68, was remembered as a moral voice of conscience in a divisive era — a leader who fought for civil rights and took on the White House as a prominent figure in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald...

Kobach fires Kansas Senate campaign aide over hateful posts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach's campaign for the Senate in Kansas says it has fired an aide after learning he regularly posted hateful comments about Jews and racial minorities on a white nationalist website.The latest campaign finance report filed by Kobach's campaign shows it...

ENTERTAINMENT

Country artists bring tears, prayers to CMT awards show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music artists cried together and prayed together at an emotional CMT Artists of the Year awards show that reflected the tight-knit community of artists who supported each other through success and loss.Country singer Kane Brown, who was one of several artists...

'Spirited Away,' other Studio Ghibli films head to HBO Max

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The vast catalog of storied Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is heading to the new HBO Max streaming service.Films such as "Princess Mononoke," ''My Neighbor Totoro" and Oscar-winner "Spirited Away" will be among the titles available to stream when HBO Max launches...

For Springsteen, 'Western Stars' made sense after book, play

NEW YORK (AP) — "Western Stars" was just the change of pace that Bruce Springsteen needed after baring his soul over the past few years.First, he shared his darkest secrets in his memoir, "Born to Run." Then he spent more than a year telling his story five nights a week in Springsteen on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next

NEW YORK (AP) — They have the pitching, and they don't need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have...

Boris Johnson gets EU Brexit deal; next hurdle is Parliament

BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's career of disdain for the European Union was a thing...

Trump, in Texas, bashes Democrats as 'crazy,' unpatriotic

DALLAS (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to turn impeachment rancor into a political rallying cry...

Protesters bar Haiti's president from visiting historic site

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti's embattled president was forced on Thursday to hold a private ceremony...

Pakistan blacklists, expels global journalists' group leader

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan blacklisted and expelled the Asia coordinator of global press freedom group the...

Silver: China asked for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to be fired

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Chinese officials wanted Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to be fired...

McMenamins
David Espo AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress' supercommittee conceded ignominious defeat Monday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending.

Stock prices plummeted at home and across debt-scarred Europe as the panel ended its brief, secretive existence without an agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike pointed fingers of blame, maneuvering for political advantage in advance of 2012 elections less than a year away.

The impasse underscored grave doubts about Washington's political will to make tough decisions and left a cloud of uncertainty over the U.S. economy at the same time that Greece, Italy, Spain and other European countries are reeling from a spreading debt crisis and recession worries.

Lawmakers of both parties agreed action in Congress was still required, somehow, and soon.

"Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve," the panel's two co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., said in a somber statement.

They added it was not possible to present "any bipartisan agreement" - omitting any reference to the goal of $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade that had been viewed as a minimum for success.

President Barack Obama - criticized by Republicans for keeping the committee at arm's length - said refusal by the GOP to raise taxes on the wealthy was the main stumbling block to a deal. He pledged to veto any attempt by lawmakers to repeal a requirement for $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are to be triggered by the supercommittee's failure to reach a compromise, unless Congress approves an alternative approach.

Those cuts are designed to fall evenly on the military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as lawmakers in both parties have warned the impact on the Pentagon could be devastating.

In reality, though, it is unclear if any of those reductions will ever take effect, since next year's presidential and congressional elections have the potential to alter the political landscape before then.

The brief written statement from Murray and Hensarling was immediately followed by a hail of recriminations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans had "never found the courage to ignore the tea party extremists" and "never came close to meeting us half way."

But Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who authored a GOP offer during the talks, said, "Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues refused to agree to any meaningful deficit reduction without $1 trillion in job-crushing tax increases."

Said Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a GOP presidential hopeful, "It's amazing to what lengths he (Obama) will go to avoid making tough decisions."

It was unlikely the outcome would materially improve Congress' public standing - already well below 20-percent approval in numerous polls.

And the panel's failure left lawmakers confronting a large and controversial agenda for December, including Obama's call to extend an expiring payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. Democrats had wanted to add those items and more to any compromise, and lawmakers in both parties also face a struggle to stave off a threatened 27 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Based on accounts provided by officials familiar with the talks, it appeared that weeks of private negotiations did nothing to alter a fundamental divide between the two political parties. Before and during the talks, Democrats said they would agree to significant savings from benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security only if Republicans would agree to a hefty dose of higher taxes, including cancellation of Bush-era cuts at upper-income brackets. In contrast, The GOP side said spending, not revenue, was the cause of the government's chronic budget deficits, and insisted that the tax cuts approved in the previous decade all be made permanent.

The Democrats' "idea was this was the opportunity to raise taxes,'" said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's second-ranking Republican and a member of the supercommittee. "It didn't matter what we proposed; the price of that was going to be $1.3 trillion in new taxes," he added in a CNBC interview, although Democrats made at least two offers that called for smaller amounts of additional tax revenue.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on MSNBC, "I have demonstrations outside my office. I've had rallies. I've had unbelievable amount of pushback because we were ready and prepared to put on the table some of those so-called sacred cows." Republicans, he said, refused to consider cancellation of the tax cuts for the wealthy.

The talks also were hampered by internal divisions within both parties.

Republicans offered a plan crafted by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania about two weeks ago that included an additional $250 billion in tax revenue through an overhaul of the tax code that included reducing the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. Some Republicans criticized it as a violation of the party's long-standing pledge not to raise taxes. Even some in the GOP leadership, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, declined to endorse it in public.

At the same time, Democrats ridiculed it as a tax cut for the rich in disguise - even privately criticizing Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., when he said it could signal a breakthrough - and it failed to generate any momentum toward compromise. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others also accused Republicans of bowing to the wishes of Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist whose organization has gathered signatures from GOP candidates on a petition pledging never to raise taxes.

And Democrats had problems of their own. An offer presented by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to cut about $3 trillion from future deficits failed to win the backing of two of the six committee members of his own party. Officials said they objected because it would have curtailed future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, some liberals said in remarks on the Senate floor they opposed it and Republicans criticized them for intransigence.

Baucus jettisoned it from a subsequent offer that also slashed an earlier demand for tax revenues.

The panel's failure marked the end of an extraordinary yearlong effort by divided government to grapple with budget deficits that lawmakers of both parties and economists of all persuasions agreed were unsustainable.

Negotiations in the Capitol led by Vice President Joseph Biden were followed by an extraordinary round of White House talks in which Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sought a sweeping compromise to cut trillions from future deficits. They outlined a potential accord that would make far-reaching changes in Medicare and other programs, while generating up to $800 billion in higher revenue through an overhaul of the tax code. But in the end, they failed to agree.

By contrast, the supercommittee never came close, instead swapping increasingly small-bore offers that the other side swiftly rejected.

Within the past week, Democrats said they would accept a Republican framework for $400 billion in higher tax revenue and $800 billion or so in spending cuts, while rejecting numerous key proposals.

Late last week, Boehner floated an offer that included $543 billion in spending cuts, fees and other non-tax revenue, as well as $3 billion in tax revenue from closing a special tax break for corporate purchases of private jets. It also assumed $98 billion in reduced interest costs.

It was swiftly rejected.

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Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Laurie Kellman contributed to this story.

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