10-18-2019  12:14 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

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

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

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Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

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

Person with measles passed through Portland airport

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Multnomah County Health Department says a person who passed through the Portland International Airport on Saturday has become sick with measles.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the health department said people who were in the airport during that time may have been...

Court issues temporary stay on flavored vaping ban in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's Court of Appeals on Thursday put a halt to the state's ban on flavored vaping products two days after it took effect.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the temporary stay issued appears to apply only to tobacco-based vaping products, sold under the oversight of...

No. 22 Missouri ready to test road skills at Vanderbilt

No. 22 Missouri (5-1, 2-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).Line: Missouri by 20 1/2.Series record: Missouri 7-3-1.WHAT'S AT STAKE?Missouri can show they play as well on the road as at home coming off a five-game home stand. A win keeps them atop the SEC East....

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...

OPINION

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 ...

“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’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Kessel scores twice, leads Coyotes past Predators 5-2

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The way Phil Kessel had been playing for the Arizona Coyotes at the start of the season, scoring a goal was just a matter of time.The veteran forward put it all together Thursday night, scoring his first two goals for Arizona, and Christian Dvorak scored his third goal...

Cummings recalled as powerful orator who took on White House

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cumming, who died Thursday at age 68, was remembered as a moral voice of conscience in a divisive era — a leader who fought for civil rights and took on the White House as a prominent figure in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald...

Kobach fires Kansas Senate campaign aide over hateful posts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach's campaign for the Senate in Kansas says it has fired an aide after learning he regularly posted hateful comments about Jews and racial minorities on a white nationalist website.The latest campaign finance report filed by Kobach's campaign shows it...

ENTERTAINMENT

Country artists bring tears, prayers to CMT awards show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music artists cried together and prayed together at an emotional CMT Artists of the Year awards show that reflected the tight-knit community of artists who supported each other through success and loss.Country singer Kane Brown, who was one of several artists...

'Spirited Away,' other Studio Ghibli films head to HBO Max

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The vast catalog of storied Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is heading to the new HBO Max streaming service.Films such as "Princess Mononoke," ''My Neighbor Totoro" and Oscar-winner "Spirited Away" will be among the titles available to stream when HBO Max launches...

For Springsteen, 'Western Stars' made sense after book, play

NEW YORK (AP) — "Western Stars" was just the change of pace that Bruce Springsteen needed after baring his soul over the past few years.First, he shared his darkest secrets in his memoir, "Born to Run." Then he spent more than a year telling his story five nights a week in Springsteen on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next

NEW YORK (AP) — They have the pitching, and they don't need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have...

China's economic slowdown deepens, weighing on global growth

BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth sank to a 26-year low in the latest quarter amid pressure from a...

Trudeau could lose power in Canada's election Monday

TORONTO (AP) — Ian Bremmer remembers the first time he met Justin Trudeau, at the annual gathering of...

Silver: China asked for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to be fired

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Chinese officials wanted Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to be fired...

New protests planned as marches converge in Catalonia

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Catalan regional capital is bracing for a fifth day of protests over the...

Gun battles sweep Culiacan after troops locate Chapo's son

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — An intense gunfight with heavy weapons and burning vehicles blocking roads...

McMenamins
Leigh Ann Caldwell CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It's been five years since the collapse of Wall Street's largest financial institutions and the ground falling out from under the U.S. economy. The stock market plummeted, unemployment skyrocketed, and the housing market imploded.



On Monday, President Barack Obama will speak from the Rose Garden to tout his successes in turning the economy around.

"Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we've cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth," read a 49-page White House report on the economy released Sunday.

The same day, Larry Summers, a leading name to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, withdrew his name from consideration, clearing the way for Janet Yellen, who serves as vice chairwoman at the Fed, to become the leading candidate.

And on Friday, the White House announced that top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, will step down as head of the National Economic Council and be replaced by Jeffrey Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

But whether the new players will have any impact economic policy, the president's economic agenda -- plagued by an obstinate Republican House and reluctant Senate, threats of shutdowns and sequesters, the end of two wars and the fears of starting a third -- may still be languishing, even as the economy itself appears to slowly be coming back to life.

It's the economy, stupid

That motto was made famous by political strategist James Carville during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, and it rang true for Obama's first presidential campaign as well.

And the American public agrees. In poll after poll, fixing the economy is a stubborn No. 1 when it comes to the issues the voters most care about.

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted this month indicates that 41% of the public says the economy is the most important issue facing the country right now, with health care at 16% and the crisis in Syria at 15%.

Obama was elected on the premise that he would stop and then reverse the worst economic downfall since the Great Depression.

He came into office with his foot firmly on the gas pedal. Less than a month after his inauguration, he signed into law an $831 billion economic stimulus bill. After a productive first month in office, analysts began to compare Obama to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who transformed the fabric of American society in the face of the Depression.

Then, with the help of a Democratic Congress, the president signed an overhaul of the financial system and the largest expansion of access to health care since President Lyndon B. Johnson created Medicare in 1965.

The jury is still out on whether either of those massive pieces of legislation will harm or help the economy, but most agree that just getting them done were historic accomplishments.

'Poor marks'

But since his first two years in office, some experts say, the president has struggled to keep focused on the economy.

Liberal economist Dean Baker has been highly critical of the president's economic record.

"I give him very poor marks. Five years later, the economy is still very far from recovering," said Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, pointing to an unemployment rate that he says would hover around 9% instead of 7.3% if so many people hadn't given up and dropped out of the work force.

And it shows in Obama's approval ratings.

Through much of last year, he had a 30% approval rating on the economy. That number is up this year -- to 43% -- but most still disapprove of his handling of the issue.

A screeching halt

In 2010, many conservatives, led by the tea party movement, sought to stop the president's agenda. They voted out the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and replaced them with conservative Republicans.

Then, those Republicans did what they were sent to Washington to do.

The president has struggled to pass any major economic legislation since 2010. Instead, he's been jumping from one political crisis to the next. Fights over federal budget and spending levels locked Congress in multiple battles in 2011 and 2012 that nearly led to the shutdown of the government.

The narrative didn't always fall in Obama's favor; nor did the policies that ensued. Republicans shifted the conversation from economic stimulus to deficit reduction. The president jumped on the deficit-reduction bandwagon and made that a priority.

Through protracted political battles over the size of the government, forced spending cuts, which sliced up to 10% of most of the federal budget, went into effect. It wasn't the president's favorite idea, however, for how to revive the economy.

He still had hopes of repairing old bridges and building new windmills. So did his supporters, who grew frustrated with the president. "We're getting tired. ... The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the (president's) strategy is," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said in 2012.

But in the frame of deficit reduction, Obama was able to obtain a few concessions. He won a series of tax increases, including an increase on the top tax earners: those making more than $400,000 per year.

And the needle moved.

The budget cuts, tax increases and a recovering economy will reduce the deficit by about $4 trillion over 10 years, according to the White House. The nation's debt ratio to size of the gross domestic product is expected to stabilize in the next decade, which economists hail as good for the economy.

The foreign affairs president

While the president came into office with little experience in foreign affairs and hopes to implement an expansive domestic agenda, overseas conflict has kept his plate full.

He expanded the war in Afghanistan and ended the war in Iraq. He kept his attention on the citizen-led revolts that swept the Arab world and expanded the use of drones. Under his administration, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed and the U.S. joined a NATO campaign to overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and Obama is now working on an intense campaign to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war.

Although presidents are forced to walk and chew gum at the same time, world events have created challenges for Obama's ability to implement his domestic agenda.

"When you look at issues like military strikes in Syria ... it takes the full time and attention of the leaders," Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said recently.

As the president decided to hold off on a military strike in Syria while Secretary of State John Kerry works with his counterpart in Russia to devise a plan to rid the regime of its chemical weapons, the president attempted to revitalize discussion of his domestic agenda.

"Even as we have been spending a lot of time on the Syria issue ... it is still important to recognize that we've got a lot more stuff to do here in this government," Obama said during a meeting with his Cabinet on Thursday.

Economist Mark Zandi said that, all things considered, the president has been fairly successful on the domestic front.

"It has been a tough road, but I think he did a pretty good job," said Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

But economist Baker offered a more critical perspective, saying the president hasn't shown a willingness to push an economic agenda.

"Let's say Syria didn't happen. What would he be doing right now? I am not sure he has some agenda that is being obstructed by events in the world," he said.

Syria aside, much of the White House's attention this fall will be spent on getting Americans to sign up for the health insurance exchanges, the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins October 1, and the administration is expected to spend $8.7 million on a media blitz to promote the exchanges.

Second term, second chance

After his re-election, the president hoped to reset his economic agenda. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama said he will work to "reignite the true engine of America's economic growth: a rising, thriving middle class."

This summer, he launched a campaign to revive his focus on the economy.

In a series of speeches this year, he acknowledged the troubling economic indicators that are keeping the economy from a full recovery, including income inequality and employment disparities.

Americans' real median household income fell from $63,000 to $55,600 between 2000 and 2011, and as of December, 9.1 million jobs were necessary to restore the job market to pre-recession levels, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

"Reversing these trends has to be Washington's highest priority. It has to be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority," Obama said in Galesburg, Illinois, in July.

Job creation, affordable education and home ownership were central to his proposals. Those proposals included expanding development of renewable energy, creating new power grids and expanding access to early childhood education.

But what has the president done since that July speech? Some say, not much.

"Nothing has happened on any front," economist Zandi said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney pushed back against that assessment. He argued that the president is still focused on those economic priorities.

"The president remains committed to pushing forward on an economic agenda that creates a better bargain for the middle class," Carney said Wednesday.

But Zandi said immigration reform, which would be a major catalyst for economic growth, appears to be heading nowhere in the House. And tax and entitlement reform, which would also help to stimulate the economy, have no chance of happening this year.

There's always next year. But 2014 is an election year, which creates an even more difficult environment for passing legislation. After 2014, the president is in his final two years of office, and the political machine begins shaping the next occupant of the Oval Office.

Then, by definition, it can be hard for a lame duck president to get much done.

CNN's Dan Merica, Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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