12-10-2019  5:04 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

NEWS BRIEFS

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. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Man gets jail, probation for strangling 85-year-old mom

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland man who violated a no-contact order and strangled his 85-year-old mother has been sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said 57-year-old James Keith was sentenced Tuesday. Keith assaulted...

M lawsuit claims meningococcal diagnosis delayed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon State University student who visited Portland-area medical providers amid a 2017 meningococcal outbreak at her Corvallis campus — but was not immediately diagnosed with the disease — has sued for million.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports then...

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

Trump to sign order targeting anti-Semitism at colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting antisemitism on college campuses, the White House said.The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government's definition of antisemitism and...

In South Carolina, Steyer investing in black voters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In the waning weeks before South Carolina's presidential primary, Democrat Tom Steyer is renewing his focus on the black voters who play a pivotal role in the first-in-the-South state, rolling out a proposal to improve historically black colleges and institutions.The...

Multistate voter database suspended in lawsuit settlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A much-criticized database that checks whether voters are registered in multiple states has been suspended “for the foreseeable future” until security safeguards are put in place as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit, a civil rights group said...

ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix says more than 26M watched 'The Irishman' in 7 days

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix says that 26.4 million households worldwide watched “The Irishman” in its first week of streaming. That figure includes those who watched at least 70% of Martin Scorsese's 3 1/2 hour crime epic. Netflix selectively announces viewership for its films and...

NFL, NCAA football fuel Fox TV's win of the prime-time week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fueled by both college and pro football, Fox won a rare title as champ of the broadcast week among networks. Fox's Thursday night NFL airing of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears was the week's top show of any kind with 18.23 million viewers, and its broadcast of the Big...

The Associated Press picks the top moments on TV from 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Many have noticed how fragmented our TV viewing is, with multiple competing streaming services and dozens of channels pulling us in different directions. But the year also saw some jaw-dropping moments that found huge audiences, whether it was a royal interview or a viral...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Adam Sandler on plunging into the Safdies' 'Uncut Gems'

TORONTO (AP) — Adam Sandler was waiting to be thrown into a midtown fountain on Sixth Avenue for a scene in...

Newspaper criticizes film's take on Olympic bombing coverage

ATLANTA (AP) — After a bomb exploded in a downtown Atlanta park midway through the 1996 Olympics, a...

Thousands rally around Holocaust survivor in Milan

MILAN (AP) — A Holocaust survivor who has been put under police protection due to anti-Semitic threats was...

In Mexico, effeminate Zapata painting draws fury

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A painting showing Mexican Revolution hero Emiliano Zapata nude and in an effeminate...

Parisians dodge strikes by logging on to share rides, bikes

ARGENTEUIL, France (AP) — Adrien Lachevre and Nailat Msoili live a few kilometers (miles) apart in Paris'...

Thousands rally around Holocaust survivor in Milan

MILAN (AP) — A Holocaust survivor who has been put under police protection due to anti-Semitic threats was...

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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