07-01-2022  6:38 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Eugene Woman Attacked With Acid for Third Time Since March

A Eugene, Oregon, woman who had acid thrown on her while walking her dog in March has been the target of two additional acid attacks at her home

Minimum Wage Increase Initiative Qualifies in WA City

An initiative to increase the minimum hourly wage in Tukwila, Washington, by more than has qualified for the November ballot.

Sydney McLaughlin Does It Again, Breaks Own World Record

When asked how she was going to celebrated afterward, McLaughlin joked: “Eating some real food besides vegetables. Like a cheeseburger or something, some pancakes.”

Inslee Seeks Abortion Rights Amendment to State Constitution

Gov. Jay Inslee will push for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights within the state, and laws that make it difficult for other states to investigate whether their own residents have visited Washington for abortion care.

NEWS BRIEFS

State Continues Paying Out Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program Applications to Renters and Landlords Across Oregon

More than 60,000 Oregon households facing pandemic hardship receive over 6 million in rental assistance relief ...

KGW and TEGNA Foundation Award $40k in Community Grants to Aid Four Oregon Nonprofit Organizations

Among the grant recipients are Urban Nature Partners PDX, Self Enhancement, Inc (SEI), Portland YouthBuilders (PYB), and p:ear. ...

Hawthorne, Morrison Bridges Will Close to Motorized Vehicles for July 4 Fireworks Show

The bridges will remain open for bicyclists and pedestrians. ...

Increased Emergency Snap Benefits Continue in July

Approximately 422,000 households will receive an estimated million in extra food benefits ...

Opacity of Performance: Takahiro Yamamoto Opens at PAM

The Portland Art Museum marks a return to live art inside its galleries with a dance installation by Takahiro Yamamoto, the museum’s...

Puget Sound crabbing starts Friday

SEATTLE (AP) — Puget Sound crabbing kicks off Friday! While some Western Washington crabbing areas, like the South Coast / Pacific Ocean and Columbia River have yearlong crabbing seasons, the season starts July 1 in most Puget Sound areas. In a few areas, the crab season starts on...

Post-Roe, states struggle with conflicting abortion bans

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In Arizona, Republicans are fighting among themselves over whether a 121-year-old anti-abortion law from the pre-statehood Wild West days, when Arizona was still a frontier mining territory, should be enforced over a 2022 version. In Idaho, meanwhile, it is not...

OPINION

Biden’s Menthol Ban Follows the ‘Racist Law’ Playbook

The ban on menthol threatens to do more harm than good for the Black people these activists purport to want to protect ...

Black Women Will Suffer the Harshest Consequences After the Overturn of Roe

Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women and are more likely to face maternal health issues. ...

Justice Clarence Thomas and the Conservative Supreme Court Have Fanned the Flames of Racism in America

Former President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again cry proved an easy between-the-lines moniker, but even that stood as a dog whistle – until now. ...

Portland Will Be Center of the Golf Universe as $25 Million Event Debuts in the Rose City

The last time Oregon hosted a PGA Tour event was the Portland Invitational Open back in 1966. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to the Supreme Court on Thursday, shattering a glass ceiling as the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. The 51-year-old Jackson is the court’s 116th justice, and she took the place of the justice she once worked...

New Zealand designates Proud Boys a terrorist organization

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations. The two groups join 18 others including the Islamic State group that have been given an official terrorist designation, making...

Essence CEO Wanga: Festival is 'never leaving' New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Essence's chief executive officer said she's been asked multiple times whether the Essence Festival of Culture is staying in New Orleans. On Thursday, Caroline Wanga ended any speculation, making the answer to that question very clear. “The Essence Festival of...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery' to debut at TIFF

NEW YORK (AP) — “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” writer-director Rian Johnson’s follow-up to his whodunit hit “Knives Out,” will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The Canadian festival announced Wednesday that “Glass Onion” will make...

Trial winds down in shooting death of rapper Nipsey Hussle

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Both sides rested their cases Wednesday in the trial of a man charged with the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle after a day's delay because of an assault on the defendant by fellow jail inmates. Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday in the trial of Eric...

Sonny Barger, figurehead of Hells Angels, dies at 83

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) — Sonny Barger, the leather-clad fixture of 1960s counterculture and figurehead of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who was at the notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, has died. He was 83. Barger's death was announced on his Facebook page...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Xi defends vision of Hong Kong on 25th anniversary of return

HONG KONG (AP) — China’s leader Xi Jinping marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return with a speech...

N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea suggested Friday its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact...

COVID cases up by more than 30% in Britain last week

LONDON (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases across Britain has surged by more than 30% in the last week,...

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s media watchdog has banned access to the Turkish services of U.S. public service...

Cups, straws, spoons: India starts on single-use plastic ban

NEW DELHI (AP) — India banned some single-use or disposable plastic products Friday as part of a federal plan to...

Taliban supreme leader prays for Afghanistan's quake victims

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban’s supreme leader offered prayers Friday for Afghanistan's earthquake victims...

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a year-end economic package that includes a provision raising premiums for "high-income" Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.

Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don't consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.

Just the top 5 percent of Medicare recipients currently pay higher premiums, a change that took effect a few years ago. The new GOP proposal would expand that over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.

On Monday the White House was mum on the Republican Medicare proposal, while AARP said it's tantamount to a new tax. In the Democratic-led Senate, there's not much enthusiasm.

The plan is modeled on a proposal that President Barack Obama submitted earlier this year to congressional debt negotiators, when he was seeking a "big deal" to cut federal deficits. Continuing pressure to curb spending means the proposal eventually could become the law of the land, even if there's no consensus now.

"This is an idea that seems to have some traction," said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's also creating a lot of confusion about who is wealthy and who is not.

For example, when Obama talks about raising taxes on the rich, he means individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families above $250,000.

But his health care law fixed the level for paying "high-income" Medicare premiums at the current $85,000 and above for an individual, $170,000 for families.

And the new Republican plan would drop the thresholds to $80,000 for an individual and $160,000 for families.

"If we're considering raising taxes on those with incomes above $250,000, then it seems to me very awkward to raise Medicare premiums on those with much lower incomes," said John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care, an advocacy group.

Baby boomers just signing up for Medicare are more likely to be affected than long-term retirees, since incomes tend to be higher for the newly retired.

AARP calls the proposed premium increases a tax hike. "Most of the time, when you have a payment due to the government because of your income, we call it a tax," said lobbyist David Certner. "It's a form of a tax." High-earning workers already pay more in Medicare payroll taxes, he pointed out.

No way it's a tax, say Republicans. Taxpayers subsidize three-quarters of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and prescription coverage for the typical retiree. Reducing a subsidy for those who can afford to pay more is not the same thing as raising taxes, they contend.

"The proposal doesn't raise taxes," said Michelle Dimarob, spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. "The provision simply adjusts the subsidy they receive."

To back their argument, Republicans are circulating a letter from anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in support of the broader bill containing the Medicare provision.

The premium hikes are to help pay for legislation that would prevent the Jan. 1 expiration of payroll tax cuts for workers and extra benefits for the long-term unemployed, while also staving off a steep cut in Medicare payments to doctors. With time running short, lawmakers of both parties are still far apart on key aspects of the package.

Tax or not, higher Medicare premiums mean less money in the pockets of those who have to pay. Currently the high-income premiums start at 35 percent of the cost of Medicare's outpatient and drug coverage for individuals making $85,000 year, and rise to 80 percent of the cost at the very top income brackets.

Next year, a typical Medicare recipient will pay $131 a month for outpatient and drug coverage combined, according to Kaiser. Those paying the high-income premiums will pay from $183 to $417. That means beneficiaries at the highest income levels would pay nearly $300 a month more.

The House GOP plan would increase the high-income premium by 15 percent in 2017 and lower the thresholds at which the higher fees kick in.

Most significantly, it freezes those income thresholds indefinitely, until one-fourth of Medicare recipients are paying "high-income" premiums. It's unclear how long that would take, but currently only about 2 million out of 47 million Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. Eventually that number would easily surpass 10 million.

The GOP proposal would reduce taxpayer spending on Medicare by $31 billion over 10 years; Obama's version saved about $20 billion.

"There's a lot of interest in asking higher-income people on Medicare to contribute more," said Neuman.

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Jan. 6 Committe Hearings - Day 6

A suprise hearing with newly discovered evidence will be held Tuesday, June 28 at 9:45 a.m. PT (12:45 p.m. ET).

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