11-17-2019  6:43 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act Introduced

In honor of Veterans Day, Monday, Merkley, Brown, Reed, Van Hollen introduced legislation to extend financial protections for servicemembers to veterans and consumers

Home Base Keeps More Than 400 Families in Their Homes in Seattle

The United Way of King County program aims to reduce homelessness by preventing evictions

Jefferson High Sees Gains in Freshman Preparedness, Graduation Rates

New support positions aim to increase attendance rates among students who often struggle with displacement, homelessness

Nike Cuts Ties With Amazon, but Shoes Won’t Vanish From Site

Nike wants to focus on selling its swoosh-branded gear on its own site and apps

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

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DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Tuesday, Nov. 12 ...

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on Monday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans...

Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation will receive a total of 0,000 plus leadership resources through Bank of...

State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is recruiting 50 volunteers to evaluate grant proposals for parks, boating...

Texas Southern’s jerseys stolen before game at Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Police say uniforms were stolen from Texas Southern’s women’s basketball team before their game at Oregon.Eugene Police say a black duffel bag containing all the jerseys was taken from a downtown hotel conference room Saturday.The Tigers wore practice...

Man arrested for arson after 4 Oregon fires

TIGARD, Ore. (AP) — Police in Oregon have arrested a man suspected of starting four fires in one day.Tigard Police says 26-year-old Joseph Tyler Martinez was arrested for arson. He’s suspected of setting four fires Thursday.Police say the first fire caused serious damage to the...

Trask, stingy defense lead Florida over Missouri, 23-6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Nothing about Kyle Trask’s path to becoming Florida’s starting quarterback was easy. Something as trivial as a sluggish first half doesn’t rattle him.Trask threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to help No. 11 Florida shake free of Missouri...

No. 11 Gators head to Mizzou hoping for another turnaround

It was only a year ago that Dan Mullen was asked about the state of his Florida program after he watched his team get humiliated by Missouri in the Swamp.His response already has become the stuff of legend.“They keep score. Someone wins and someone loses,” Mullen said, passion rising...

OPINION

Illinois Prison Bans Black History Books

Officials claim the works are ‘racial’ ...

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black Eyed Peas star accuses Qantas attendant of racism

SYDNEY (AP) — Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am has accused a flight attendant from Australia’s national carrier Qantas of being racist and rude to him on a flight.The musician says he was met by police at Sydney Airport on Saturday after an incident with an “overly aggressive...

Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense official revered by Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority for his role in ending a bloody civil war but feared by minorities for his brutal approach, registered a comfortable victory Sunday in the nation’s presidential...

Sanders stars with Biden, Warren absent at California forum

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bernie Sanders was greeted with booming cheers at a gathering of California Democrats Saturday, underscoring his popularity with the party’s liberal base as he looks to capture the biggest prize in the presidential primary season next year.The decisions by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Media filters set current impeachment hearings apart

NEW YORK (AP) — Millions of Americans are choosing to experience the impeachment hearings through media filters that depict the proceedings as either a worthless sham or like Christmas in November.That’s the chief difference between now and the two other times in the modern era when a...

Creator of Lizzo’s signature slogan could get a Grammy nod

NEW YORK (AP) — Mina Lioness’ longstanding battle to finally receive writing credit on Lizzo’s megahit song “Truth Hurts” is paying off in more ways than one: it could win her a potential Grammy Award.Lizzo's breakthrough tune features the signature line —...

Ex-ambassador’s testimony shines light on conservative media

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s impeachment testimony on Friday spotlighted the role of conservative media in her downfall and the chilling reminder that she remains a social media target.The ousted ambassador recalled a series of articles by reporter...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Last-minute audible: Kaepernick back to school for workout

RIVERDALE, Ga. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick’s saga took another surreal turn Saturday — a...

Sorry, wrong number: Statistical benchmark comes under fire

NEW YORK (AP) — Earlier this fall Dr. Scott Solomon presented the results of a huge heart drug study to an...

AP Interview: Steyer’s fortune fuels underdog 2020 campaign

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Tom Steyer says it’s “not possible” to buy the Democratic...

US, S Korea postpone joint exercise criticized by N Korea

BANGKOK (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the United States and South Korea have...

Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense official revered by Sri Lanka’s...

Pope’s Asian agenda: Disarmament, martyrs, family reunion

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has agendas both pastoral and personal for his trip to Asia, where...

McMenamins
Ben Feller AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is asking Congress for the power to shrink the federal government and merge federal agencies in an effort to make government more efficient and consumer friendly.

The president is calling it "a big idea."

Obama is trying to rally Republicans in Congress to get behind the plan, which could save $3 billion over 10 years.

Under the proposal, six major trade and commerce agencies with overlapping programs would be merged. The Commerce Department would be among those that would cease to exist.

President Ronald Reagan is the last president who had the type of reorganizational power that Obama is seeking from Congress.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for greater power to shrink the federal government, and he would start by trying to merge six major trade and commerce agencies whose overlapping programs can be baffling to businesses, the White House said Friday. The Commerce Department would be among those that would cease to exist.

Obama will call on Congress to give him a type of reorganizational power last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. The Obama version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers. The deal would entitle him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.

It would be up to lawmakers, therefore, to first grant Obama this fast-track authority and then decide whether to approve any of his specific ideas.

"The government we have is not the government we need," said Jeffrey Zients, who is leading the effort as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama will announce his effort at the White House on Friday morning. Administration officials first confirmed the news to The Associated Press.

In an election year and a political atmosphere of tighter spending, Obama's move is about more than improving a giant bureaucracy. He is attempting to directly counter Republican arguments that he has presided over the kind of government regulation, spending and debt that can undermine the economy - a dominant theme of the emerging presidential campaign.

Republicans have often aligned themselves with smaller government. So politically, Obama is trying to put the onus on Republicans in the House and Senate to show why they would be against the pursuit of leaner government.

From Capitol Hill, a spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, pledged Obama's plan would get a careful review.

But the spokesman, Don Stewart, also said: "After presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of the Union, it's interesting to see the president finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control."

Obama has an imperative to deliver. He made the promise to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his last State of the Union speech last January.

At the time, Obama grabbed attention by pointing out the absurdity of government inefficiency. In what he called his favorite example, Obama said: "The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

The White House said the problem is serious for consumers who turn to their government for help and often do not know where to begin.

Not in decades has the government undergone a sustained reorganization of itself. Presidents have tried from time to time, but each part of the bureaucracy has its own defenders inside and outside the government, which can make merger ideas politically impossible. That's particularly true because "efficiency" is often another way of saying people will lose their jobs.

Obama hopes to enhance his chances by getting Congress to give him the assurance of a clean, relatively speedy vote on any of his proposals.

There is no clear sign that Obama would get that cooperation. He spent much of 2011 in utter gridlock with Republicans in Congress.

In a related development, the White House announced Friday that Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, would be elevated to Cabinet-level rank. But her job would essentially disappear if Obama has his way.

If he gets the new fast-track power to propose legislation, Obama's first project would be to combine six major operations of the government that focus on business and trade.

They are: the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions; the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency. The goal would be one agency designed to help businesses thrive.

The official said 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be cut, but the administration would do so through attrition; that is, as people routinely leave their jobs over time.

The administration said the merger would save $3 billion over 10 years by getting rid of duplicative overhead costs, human resources divisions and programs.

The name and potential secretary of the new agency have not been determined.

The point, the White House says, is not just making the government smaller but better by saving people time and eliminating bureaucratic nightmares. The idea for the consolidated business agency grew out of discussions with hundreds of business leaders and agency heads over the last several months.

Zients presented Obama as the CEO of an operation who should have more power to influence how it is designed. According to the White House, presidents held such a reorganizational authority for about 50 years until it ran out during Reagan's presidency in 1984.

Obama has a series of other ideas about consolidating departments across the government, to be rolled out later, Zients said.

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