12-14-2019  9:38 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Louisiana State University President Heading to Oregon Job

F. King Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the position at Oregon State University at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university

PHOTOS: Black Santa Visits Northwest African American Museum

The Skanner's Seattle photographer Susan Fried was on hand to snap some photos

English Language Learners' Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

Oregon educator boosts student achievement and future prospects at Gresham High School

Portland Resident Hoping to Donate Kidney to Black Recipient

Fewer Black patients receive live kidney donations

NEWS BRIEFS

Friends of the Children Chapter Coming to Tacoma, Executive Director Announced

Organization empowers youth facing the greatest obstacles through the long-term support of professional mentors ...

Oregon Humane Society Celebrates the Adoption of the 11,000th Pet of 2019

Max, a two-year-old Labrador/Weimaraner mix, is going to a new home with the Dunlap family of Damascus ...

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Man convicted of hate crime for punching transgender woman

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man convicted of punching a transgender woman has been sentenced to probation. Dominick Gonzales, 38, changed his plea Friday and was convicted of first-degree bias crime for punching the woman in Northwest Portland in September, Multnomah County District...

Oregon Supreme Court upholds district attorney suspension

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court upheld a decision to suspend a district attorney for lying to investigators. Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley will be suspended from practicing law for two months beginning in February, the court ruled Thursday. The ruling upholds...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Former Gary, Indiana, Mayor Richard Hatcher dead at 86

Former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, who became one of the first black mayors of a big U.S. city when he was elected in 1967, has died. He was 86.Hatcher died Friday night at a Chicago hospital, said his daughter, Indiana state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, a Gary Democrat. She did not provide a cause of her...

Reparations mark new front for US colleges tied to slavery

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The promise of reparations to atone for historical ties to slavery has opened new territory in a reckoning at U.S. colleges, which until now have responded with monuments, building name changes and public apologies. Georgetown University and two theological seminaries...

AP Exclusive: China tightens up on info after Xinjiang leaks

The Xinjiang regional government in China’s far west is deleting data, destroying documents, tightening controls on information and has held high-level meetings in response to leaks of classified papers on its mass detention camps for Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities,...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Lemonade' by Beyoncé is named the AP's album of the decade

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 15 albums of the decade by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu:1. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”: At the beginning of this decade, Beyoncé was already the greatest singer of her generation. She won a record six Grammys in a single night, had women...

'Mad Men' actress Christina Hendricks files for divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks filed for divorce Friday from her husband of 10 years, actor Geoffrey Arend. Hendricks filed the marriage dissolution documents in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The 44-year-old Hendricks...

‘Rise of Skywalker’ is almost here, but a dark side looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Disney bought Lucasfilm for more than billion in 2012, there were lofty expectations of reviving “Star Wars” in spectacular hyper-speed fashion with a new trilogy that continued the story of Luke Skywalker and other beloved characters.The space saga...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Preservation or development? Brazil’s Amazon at a crossroads

TRAIRAO, Brazil (AP) — Night falls in Brazil’s Amazon and two logging trucks without license plates...

Under pressure, Hallmark pulls gay-themed wedding ads

NEW YORK (AP) — Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, The Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for...

US finally giving boot to official foot measurement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Change is afoot for the official measuring stick used to size up big places in...

China welcomes preliminary deal in trade war it blames on US

BEIJING (AP) — China expressed cautious optimism Saturday about a first-step trade agreement that dials...

Boris Johnson goes north to celebrate crushing election win

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged Saturday to repay the trust of voters in the...

Disagreement drags UN climate talks into a 2nd extra day

MADRID (AP) — U.N. climate talks in Madrid dragged into a second day of extra time Sunday, with officials...

McMenamins
Andrew Taylor the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House GOP leaders are struggling with divisions within their party over whether to extend the payroll tax cut, after the Senate punted on its efforts to keep the tax holiday going another year.

Senate votes Thursday exposed wide reluctance by Republicans to go along with the costly proposal that's a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's jobs agenda. That puts the focus on the GOP-controlled House.

The cut in Social Security payroll taxes encountered stiff opposition from many House Republicans in a closed-door meeting on Friday, and it seemed plain Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner have a lot of persuading to do before the payroll tax measure and an accompanying extension of unemployment benefits is ready for a vote.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said the current 2 percentage point cut in the Social Security payroll tax hasn't helped. Extending the tax holiday for another year would cost $120 billion.

"It hasn't stimulated the economy at all," Gohmert said. "But over the long term it does add to our deficit."

With just two or three weeks before Congress adjourns for Christmas, Republicans are deeply unhappy with a year-end agenda populated with Obama initiatives like the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits, as well as a nearly $1 trillion stack of unfinished spending bills.

"There's not a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for anything right now," said Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas.

On Thursday, as expected, Senate Republicans defeated Obama's plan to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of next year while also making it more generous for workers.

But in a vote that exposed rare divisions among Senate Republicans, more than two dozen of the GOP's 47 lawmakers also voted to kill an alternative plan backed by their leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to renew the existing 2 percentage point payroll tax cut.

A spokesman for Boehner, R-Ohio, said House Republicans weren't planning on negotiating with Democrats before unveiling a payroll tax cut plan - and the spending cuts to pay for it - next week. But the Senate vote would seem to indicate that House Republicans will be hard-pressed to muscle a payroll tax cut through without Democratic support. And those votes could be hard to come by if the GOP plan contains spending cuts Democrats dislike.

Many Republicans and even some Democrats say the payroll tax cut hasn't worked to boost jobs and is too costly at a time when the deficit requires the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spends.

"I can't find many people who even know that they're getting it, OK?" said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who opposed both tax cut plans. "So with that being said, we're going to double down on something that we thought should have worked that didn't work."

The defeat of the competing Senate plans came as Boehner said for the first time that renewing the payroll tax cut would boost the lagging economy. Boehner also promised compromise on a renewal of long-term jobless benefits through the end of 2012.

The payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits are at the center of a costly, politically-charged year-end agenda in which Democrats seem poised to prevail in renewing a tax cut that many Republicans back only reluctantly. But Republicans are insisting - in a switch from last year - that the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits be paid for by cutting spending.

Both parties are seeking the political high ground as next year's elections loom, with Democrats accusing Republicans of siding with the rich, and Republicans countering that Democrats were taxing small business owners who create jobs.

The first payroll tax plan to fall was a Democratic measure that was at the heart of the jobs package Obama announced in September. It would cut the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 3.1 percent next year and also extend the cut to employers, with its hefty $265 billion cost paid for by slapping a 3.25 percent surtax on income exceeding $1 million.

Republicans and a handful of Democrats combined to kill the measure on a 51-49 tally that fell well short of the 60 votes required under Senate rules. For the first time, a Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voted to support the millionaires' surcharge.

In a surprising result, Democrats and more than two dozen Republicans then voted 78-20 to kill the $120 billion GOP alternative that would have simply extended the existing 2 percentage point payroll tax cut, financed by freezing federal workers' pay through 2015 and reducing the government bureaucracy.

Republicans offered a simple one-year continuation of the existing law, jettisoning Obama's call to deepen the cut to 3.1 percentage point on workers' first $106,800 in earnings, while expanding it to cut in half employers' Social Security contributions for their $5 million in payroll.

To pay for the measure, Senate Republicans proposed freezing federal workers' pay through 2015 - extending a two-year-freeze recommended by Obama - and reducing the bureaucracy by 200,000 jobs through attrition.

The Democratic plan would give a worker earning $50,000 a more than $1,500 tax cut; the GOP plan would provide a $1,000 tax cut for such an earner. A two-income family making $200,000 would reap a $6,000-plus tax cut under the Democratic plan and a $4,000 tax cut under the GOP version.

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