10-15-2019  2:12 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

PCC Weighing Community Input on Workforce Training Center, Affordable Housing in Cully

Portland Community College is compiling the results of door-to-door and online surveys

Lawsuit Filed Against Hilton Hotels in “Calling His Mother While Black” Discrimination Case

Jermaine Massey was ousted from the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland where he was a guest and forced to find lodging at around midnight

NEWS BRIEFS

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

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

Black Women Help Kick off Sustainable Building Week

The event will be held at Portland’s first and only “green building” owned and operated by African-American women ...

Voter Registration Deadline for the November Special Election is Oct. 15 

The Special Election in Multnomah County will be held on Nov. 5, 2019 ...

Franklin High School’s Mercedes Muñoz Named Oregon Teacher of the Year

In a letter of recommendation, Muñoz was referred to as “a force of nurture.” ...

Founder of Black Panther Challenge Creates Brand To Support Mental Health

The launch comes during Mental Health Awareness Week. The creators say they want people around the world to know that they aren’t...

Authorities identify 63-year-old man in hunting accident

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Oregon county authorities have identified the man killed in a suspected accidental shooting while hunting near Washington state lines.The Longview Daily News reports that Columbia County Sheriff's Office identified 63-year-old Martin Fox of Portland.County deputies,...

Name of man released in Portland suspicious death Monday

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police have released the name of a man who died of a gunshot wound Monday in North Portland.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Ricky Malone Sr.'s death is being investigated as a homicide.Police say the man was found hurt during a welfare check Monday morning in...

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...

Missouri out to stop Ole Miss ground game in SEC matchup

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke has watched every game Missouri has played this season, and he was no doubt excited by the way Wyoming ran wild against the Tigers in their season opener.It should have portended good things for the Rebels' own vaunted rushing attack.But the more Luke looked at the video,...

OPINION

“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’" ...

Despite U.S. Open Loss, Serena Williams Is Still the Greatest of All Time

Serena Williams lost her bid for what would have been her sixth U.S. Open Singles title ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Chief: Officer's Proud Boys membership didn't break policy

A Connecticut police officer's membership in the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies, didn't violate department policies, the town's police chief has concluded in response to a civil rights group's concerns.The East Hampton officer, Kevin P....

President of Bulgarian soccer resigns after fan racism, loss

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Criticized around Europe for the racist behavior of Bulgarian fans and under pressure from the country's prime minister following a run of poor results, the president of the country's soccer federation resigned on Tuesday.A few hours later, Bulgarian special police...

Money, hatred for the Kurds drives Turkey's Syrian fighters

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian fighters vowed to kill "pigs" and "infidels," paraded their Kurdish captives in front of cameras and, in one graphic video, fired several rounds into a man lying on the side of a highway with his hands bound behind his back.They are part of the self-styled Syrian...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: In 'Mistress of Evil,' Maleficent plays mom

For a moment, "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" seems poised to turn into a wonderful take on "Father of the Bride" only with fangs and wings.Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), the beauty who escaped the curse of sleep, merrily accepts the proposal of Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), a marriage that...

Q&A: Julie Andrews on new memoir and her 'second career'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Julie Andrews hasn't appeared in front of the camera in a feature film for almost 10 years, but that doesn't mean the 84-year-old screen legend has slowed down. She's just moved on to other things, like voice work, book writing and even directing theater.In June, Andrews...

AP Exclusive: Julie Andrews reflects on her Hollywood years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Everyone is on their best behavior when Julie Andrews is around.It's early June in Los Angeles and Andrews is coming to film segments for a night of guest programming on Turner Classic Movies and speak about her new book, "Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years," which...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Mexico: Families of slain police angry, AMLO defends policy

MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — Grieving family members of the 13 police officers killed in an apparent cartel...

LeBron James no longer King James for Hong Kong protesters

HONG KONG (AP) — When the ball smashed into a photo of LeBron James' face stuck above the hoop and dropped...

12 Democrats meet for first debate since impeachment inquiry

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Joe Biden is facing baseless but persistent allegations of wrongdoing overseas...

The Latest: Putin and Erdogan discuss situation in Syria

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — The latest on Turkey's offensive in northern Syria (all times local):11:55...

EU: Brexit deal in sight but UK must still do more

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — European Union officials were hoping Tuesday that —after more than three years of...

Trump's sanctions won't bite a vulnerable Turkish economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The sanctions the U.S. announced against Turkey this week over its offensive in...

McMenamins
Alan Fram the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- If President Barack Obama, the House and the Senate all want to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut and jobless benefits through next year, why are they fighting so bitterly over doing it?

Obama, House Democrats and lopsided majorities of both parties in the Senate want to immediately renew the tax cut and jobless benefits for the next two months, and find a way later to extend them through 2012. House Republicans want to do it for a full year right away.

That doesn't sound like an unbridgeable gap. Yet the fight has evolved into a year-end partisan grudge match with no clear resolution in sight and with huge political and economic stakes.

Without action, the payroll tax paid by 160 million workers will rise by 2 percentage points to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. That would mean $1,000 a year less in the pockets of people making $50,000, or about $19 weekly. In addition, 3 million people currently receiving long-term jobless benefits will begin to lose weekly payments that average under $300 - for many, their only support.

Following is a guided tour, in question and answer form, through the dispute.

Q: Why do Obama and the Senate want to extend the tax cut and jobless benefits by only two months?

A: Actually, they don't. When the Senate voted overwhelmingly last weekend for a two-month bill backed by Obama, it was a fallback position after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., disagreed over ways to pay for a yearlong extension. Both sides agreed they would not let the bill increase long-term deficits.

The Senate's two-month version continues the payroll tax and jobless benefits at this year's levels and costs $33 billion. The bargainers agreed to pay for that by raising fees people pay for new mortgages or refinancing insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage companies. For a $200,000 mortgage, the fee increase would raise a borrower's cost about $17 a month.

A full-year extension would cost around $200 billion, and the two sides couldn't agree on how to pay for that. So they agreed on a bill extending the tax cuts and jobless benefits through February, and then they would return early next year to resolve their differences over a yearlong measure.

Q: The government spends over $3.5 trillion every year. How hard can it be to find another $170 billion or so in savings?

A: It's been tough because of the math and the ways each side would do it.

The two parties seemed to agree that additional savings could come from a federal sale of parts of the broadcast spectrum, and by requiring government workers to contribute more to their pensions. Beyond that are vast differences, substantive and political.

A yearlong extension that the GOP-run House passed this month would make higher-income seniors pay more for Medicare coverage and cut spending for parts of Obama's health care overhaul law enacted last year. Democrats oppose both those provisions.

Democrats have proposed paying for a one-year extension of the payroll tax and federal unemployment benefits by imposing a 1.9 percent surtax on income above $1 million a year, a non-starter with Republicans. During talks between top Senate Democrats and Republicans, Democrats also proposed other ways of boosting levies on the wealthy, but those were rejected.

Q: Are there any other differences?

A: They're also fighting over the jobless benefits taxpayers should provide as the economy slowly improves.

Democrats want to keep the current structure. Most states provide 26 weeks of unemployment coverage, and federal programs enacted since the recession boost the eligibility up to 99 weeks in some states.

The House-passed bill would pare that total coverage to a maximum 79 weeks. That probably would fall even further in some states as employment improves. The House bill also requires benefit recipients without high school diplomas to pursue education alternatives and lets states test recipients for drug use.

Q: While they work through these differences, why the fuss over whether Congress first approves a two-month or a one-year plan?

A: For one thing, many freshman and conservative House Republicans are tired of compromising with the Senate and want their leaders to take a stand. They also say a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut would create uncertainty for taxpayers and businesses and problems for employers' payroll systems.

Many House Republicans hate the idea of keeping the issue alive until March 1, when the two-month bill would expire. Democrats have damaged Republicans politically with proposals to pay for the payroll tax cut by boosting levies on the rich. GOP lawmakers solidly oppose that approach, saying it would discourage job creation, and Democrats have used that to argue that Republicans are defending the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

That's not an argument Republicans want to spend the 2012 election year having. As a result, many want to avoid additional votes on the matter next year, and they don't want to let Obama spend next month's State of the Union address discussing it. They would rather spend 2012 voting on issues they feel are on their terrain, like blocking Obama administration regulations, reducing the size of government and cutting its spending.

Q: What about Democrats?

A: They say the tax cut and unemployment coverage must be renewed to protect the millions who would be hurt Jan. 1. They also have no desire to surrender leverage by abandoning the two-month deal negotiated by the Senate's Reid and McConnell.

But they, too, have political motivations.

Democrats cite economists who say the payroll tax would pump enough money into the economy to help it grow slightly next year. Knowing that the 2012 presidential and congressional races are likely to hinge on the economy's performance, they want to take no chances with anything that might tip the economy in the wrong direction. To them, that means the payroll tax cut and extra jobless coverage must be extended.

Q: Wouldn't these bills also prevent a scheduled cut in reimbursements to doctors who treat Medicare patients?

A: Yes, a 27 percent reduction takes effect next month unless Congress acts. Doctors say that cut would discourage physicians from treating the elderly people served by Medicare. Neither party wants to anger older voters by limiting their access to doctors.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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