10-20-2019  9:27 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

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

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

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

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

Seattle's first Opportunity Zone development breaks ground

SEATTLE (AP) — The Opportunity Zones program was marketed as a way to help poor communities by offering major capital-gains tax breaks for investors to park their cash in 8,000 designated low-income census tracts.Instead, critics have labelled it a "tax scam," ''the latest example of urban...

Prosecutors: Trade war opens doors For Mexican drug cartels

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal law enforcement officials in Oregon say they've uncovered an elaborate scheme to convert Mexican drug profits from sales in the United States back into pesos using Chinese citizens who seek to circumvent their country's banking laws.The Mexican drug cartels are...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

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

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

New HBO series 'Watchmen' hopes to match original's ambition

NEW YORK (AP) — Damon Lindelof didn't take lightly the challenge of adapting the most acclaimed graphic novel of all time.The "Lost" and "The Leftovers" co-creator was a fan of the revered "Watchmen" book ever since his father handed him the first few issues when he was 13 in the mid-1980s....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

3 US soldiers killed in accident at Fort Stewart in Georgia

FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) — U.S. Army officials say three soldiers were killed and three others were injured...

Kurds evacuate Syrian town in 1st pullout of cease-fire

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Dozens of vehicles rolled out of a besieged Syrian border town, evacuating Kurdish...

Canada's Conservatives offer bland option to Trudeau's flash

TORONTO (AP) — Even members of his own party say Canada's Conservative leader is bland.They tout it as a...

15 dead after Russian dam collapse floods dormitories

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 15 people are dead after a dam at a small Siberian gold mine collapsed and water...

Trump drops plan to host G-7 at Doral

WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to stinging criticism, President Donald Trump on Saturday abruptly reversed...

McMenamins
Andrew Taylor the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Putting on the brakes after two years of big spending increases, President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan Monday that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation's poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office.

The Skanner News Video here

The 10-year blueprint makes "tough choices and sacrifices," Obama said in his official budget message. Yet the plan, which sets the stage for this week's nasty congressional fight over cuts in the budget year that's already more than one-third over, steers clear of deeply controversial long-term problem areas such as Social Security and Medicare.

The budget relies heavily on the recovering economy, tax increases and rosy economic assumptions to estimate that the federal deficit would drop from this year's record $1.6 trillion - an astronomical figure that requires the government to borrow 43 cents out of every dollar it spends - to about $600 billion after five years.

Obama foresees a deficit of $1.1 trillion for the new budget year, which begins Oct. 1, still very high by historical benchmarks but moving in the right direction.

The president claims $1.1 trillion in deficit savings over the coming decade for his plan, a 12 percent cut from the federal deficits the administration otherwise projects. But that figure includes almost $650 billion in spending cuts and new transportation revenues the administration won't specify.

Obama would trade cuts to some domestic programs to pay for increases in education, infrastructure and research as necessary investments that he judges to be important to the country's competitiveness in a global economy.

But he also raises taxes by $1.6 trillion over the coming decade, much of it from allowing recently renewed tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year to expire in two years - he signed a two-year extension of them into law just two months ago - and from curbing their tax deductions for charitable contributions, mortgage interest and state and local tax payments.

Despite his spending cuts and tax increases, the government's total debt would still mushroom from $14.2 trillion now to almost $21 trillion by 2016. Republicans assailed his blueprint for failing to take the lead on the nation's daunting fiscal problems.

"People vote for presidents because they want leadership," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in an interview. "They expect presidents to take on the greatest challenges facing the country. Well, the biggest crisis we have is the debt, and he's doing absolutely nothing to get it under control."

While Obama's budget total of $3.7 trillion would be down slightly from this year's estimated $3.8 trillion, lower war costs and naturally declining stimulus spending are chiefly responsible.

A year after appointing a bipartisan commission to recommend ways to deal with the debt, Obama would bypass almost all of its painful prescriptions to cut huge benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare. But the president said he understood more must be done.

"The only way to truly tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it, in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending and spending through tax breaks and loopholes," Obama said at a middle school outside Baltimore. "So what we've done here is make a down payment."

The White House and its allies said the administration was willing to go further in taking on the long-term problems of Social Security, Medicare and other huge benefit programs. But for Obama to go out on a limb and propose them now, they said, could be counterproductive. It would invite partisan attacks and rally interest groups in opposition.

Instead, Obama appears to be counting on private talks with lawmakers to spark action on the deficit this year, especially in the Senate, where a bipartisan group including several members of the Obama's debt commission are trying to be that catalyst.

"Ultimately the best strategy for getting a result is if we demonstrate in the Senate - Republicans and Democrats - that there's some serious prospect of taking this on," said Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who's taking part in the Senate talks.

The $1.1 trillion in claimed budget savings over the coming decade combines cuts in domestic agency budgets with tax increases and modest curbs to benefit programs like Medicare. But the administration claims more than $300 billion of that savings - to pay for preventing a cut in Medicare payments to doctors - without specifying where it would come from. An additional $328 billion would come from unspecified "bipartisan financing" to pay for transportation infrastructure projects like high speed rail lines and road and bridge construction.

To reduce the annual deficit to a relatively manageable $607 billion by 2015, or 3.2 percent of gross domestic product, the White House gives optimistic estimates for the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and relies on significantly rosier economic predictions than does the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The White House estimates economic growth averaging 4 percent over 2013-2016; CBO predicts a more modest 3.4 percent.

"They are certainly on the upbeat side," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.

The rosy economic projections help the administration project significantly more tax revenues than otherwise would occur - on the order of $1.7 trillion over the upcoming decade when compared with CBO estimates.

While the budget deficit would drop to $645 billion in 2014, Obama's policies have virtually nothing to do with it. In fact, his promised $36 billion in deficit reduction in 2014 could be erased by higher war costs than the administration estimates. In the current year, the administration's policies actually would increase the deficit by $31 billion, in part by proposing a $250 payment to Social Security beneficiaries that's already been rejected on Capitol Hill.

The president's projected $1.6 trillion deficit for the current year would be the highest dollar amount ever, surpassing the $1.4 trillion deficit hit in 2009. It would also represent 10.8 percent of the total economy, the highest level since the deficit stood at 21.5 percent of gross domestic product in 1945, reflecting heavy borrowing to fight World War II.

The president's 2012 budget projects that the deficits will total $7.2 trillion over the next decade with the imbalances never falling below $607 billion. Even that would exceed the deficit record before Obama took office of $459 billion in 2008, President George W. Bush's last year in office.

Obama's budget would also raise $46 billion over 10 years by eliminating various tax breaks to oil, gas and coal companies - proposals that went nowhere when Democrats controlled Congress and are even less likely to pass now that Republicans control the House.

While Obama's budget avoided painful choices in entitlement programs, it did call for $78 billion in cuts from the Pentagon's future plans, to kill a program opposed by Obama to build an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a move opposed by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, whose state is a principal beneficiary. Obama would also terminate a new amphibious assault vehicle for the Marine Corps; it's well behind schedule and way over budget.

Administration officials also said that the savings from limiting tax deductions for high income taxpayers would be used to keep the Alternative Minimum Tax from hitting more middle-class families over the next two years.

The budget proposes cutting grants for airports and funding awarded to states for water treatment plants, and proposes cutting energy subsidies for the poor in half, reversing huge gains awarded by Democrats the past two years.

Obama's budget for next year comes as House Republicans are trying to slash current-year spending by $61 billion, a proposal that would cut domestic agencies funded by Congress each year by almost one-quarter over the second half of the budget year.

Republicans are taking on many of the very programs Obama wants to increase. Obama is seeking $53 billion for high-speed rail over the next few years; Republicans are trying to pull back $2.5 billion that's already been promised. He's seeking increases for his "Race to the Top" initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools; Republicans on Friday unveiled a 5 percent cut to schools serving the disadvantaged.

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AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

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