12-13-2019  1:31 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Louisiana State University President Heading to Oregon Job

F. King Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the position at Oregon State University at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university

PHOTOS: Black Santa Visits Northwest African American Museum

The Skanner's Seattle photographer Susan Fried was on hand to snap some photos

English Language Learners' Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

Oregon educator boosts student achievement and future prospects at Gresham High School

Portland Resident Hoping to Donate Kidney to Black Recipient

Fewer Black patients receive live kidney donations

NEWS BRIEFS

Friends of the Children Chapter Coming to Tacoma, Executive Director Announced

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Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

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Louisiana State University president heading to Oregon job

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University is looking for a new system chief, after President F. King Alexander was appointed Friday to lead Oregon State University.Oregon State's Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to hire Alexander in a special meeting, confirming that Alexander...

As California thins forests to limit fire risk, some resist

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. (AP) — Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. Their goal: To protect communities such as Redwood...

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

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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

Donor pulls jumi.5M grant to UNC-Chapel Hill over 'Silent Sam'

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A New York-based not-for-profit foundation has withdrawn a jumi.5 million grant intended for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in light of a financial deal between leaders of the university system and a Confederate group to preserve a controversial...

Belgian carnival removed from UNESCO list over racism row

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A famous Belgian carnival was removed from the U.N.'s cultural heritage list on Friday following complaints that its most recent edition contained blatant displays of anti-Semitism.The Aalst carnival was taken off UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list during a...

Anti-Semitism order raises tough issue of defining prejudice

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s order to expand the scope of potential anti-Semitism complaints on college campuses is raising the stakes of an already tense battle over how to define discrimination against Jews.The executive order Trump signed on Wednesday tells the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Greta Gerwig on making 'Little Women' 'at the speed of life'

NEW YORK (AP) — The first movie Greta Gerwig saw in a theater was “Muppets Take Manhattan.” When it was over, her parents momentarily couldn’t find her. She had run to the front of the theater to put her hands on the screen.“I thought I could get into it,”...

'Lemonade' by Beyoncé is named the AP's album of the decade

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 15 albums of the decade by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu:1. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”: At the beginning of this decade, Beyoncé was already the greatest singer of her generation. She won a record six Grammys in a single night, had women...

'Mad Men' actress Christina Hendricks files for divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks filed for divorce Friday from her husband of 10 years, actor Geoffrey Arend. Hendricks filed the marriage dissolution documents in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The 44-year-old Hendricks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Blue-collar character actor Danny Aiello has died at age 86

NEW YORK (AP) — Danny Aiello, the blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included...

‘Rise of Skywalker’ is almost here, but a dark side looms

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In surprise decision, US approves muscular dystrophy drug

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Ex-PM elected Algeria's new president, to protesters' dismay

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El Salvador court gives hefty sentences in mass gang trial

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has sentenced 373 convicted members of the...

Battle ahead: Scotland party leader vows independence push

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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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