05-20-2018  6:34 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Portland jury issues million verdict against landlord

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has ordered a rental-property company to pay more than million after a man fell through a rotting walkway at his Portland apartment complex.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Robert Trebelhorn argued that Los Angeles-based Prime Group, which owns the...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...

Kelly Clarkson honors school victims at Billboard Awards

An emotional Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in tribute to the recent school children and teachers who died in Texas, barely able to speak as she urged the audience and the world to do more to prevent deadly shootings from happening.Clarkson, who is hosting the show, said she...

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

Venezuela keeps voting stations open amid light turnout

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Voting centers across Venezuela's capital appeared largely empty during Sunday's...

Police response to Texas school shooting remains unclear

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Santa Fe High School had conducted active shooter drills, armed police officers...

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Sherpa climbing guide who scaled Mount Everest for a record 22nd time last week...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Jim Kuhnhenn Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate on Friday firmly rejected a House Republican bill to slash spending and require a balanced-budget amendment, leaving unresolved with just days to go the urgent issue of increasing the nation's borrowing powers.

The 51-46 Senate vote against the tea party-backed measure - which had been expected in the Democratic-run chamber - came shortly after House Speaker John Boehner told reporters he and President Barack Obama had failed to reach a separate agreement to resolve the debt crisis.

"There was no agreement, publicly, privately, never an agreement, and frankly not close to an agreement," Boehner said. "So I suggest it's going to be a hot weekend here in Washington, D.C."

If progress is to be made over the weekend in the nation's steamy capital, it will have to be made behind closed doors and not in the open.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., canceled planned weekend Senate sessions, increasing the pressure on Obama, Boehner and other top-level negotiators to strike a deal.

Reid said that talks ongoing between Obama and Boehner are focused on producing legislation involving taxes and that the House would have to act before the Senate, because tax measures must originate in the House.

Boehner underscored his willingness to keep negotiations going, telling reporters, "As a responsible leader, I think it is my job to keep likes of communications open."

The administration says the government is in danger of defaulting for the first time in its history after August 2 unless Congress raises the federal debt ceiling so it can keep borrowing enough to pay its bills.

But Democrats and Republicans have been deadlocked over terms of a deficit-reduction package linked to the debt-limit increase, with Democrats demanding some tax increases and Republicans insisting on doing it just with spending cuts.

The focus now is on efforts by Obama and Boehner to come up with an ambitious $4 trillion "grand bargain" that would secure the support of rank-and-file lawmakers. But wide differences still remain.

The continuing Obama-Boehner talks kept alive the possibility of substantial deficit reduction that would combine cuts in spending on major benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid and revenue increases through a broad overhaul of the tax code.

"We have the opportunity to do something big and meaningful," Obama declared in a newspaper opinion piece. Later Friday, the president took his case to the public again in a town hall-style meeting. Earlier, from the Capitol, Boehner said House Republicans were prepared to compromise and prodded Obama: "The ball continues to be in the president's court."

Even as Republicans contended with the demands of tea party-backed House members, worry was shifting to how to keep Democrats in line if a compromise is reached between Boehner and Obama.

Talk of a deal prompted a spasm of distress among Senate Democrats worried that Obama would agree to immediate cuts but put off steps to increase tax revenues that the president has said are key to any agreement. The White House immediately sought to tamp down talk of an impending deal.

Democratic officials familiar with the talks said both the cuts to benefit programs such as Medicare and a tax overhaul are too complicated to undertake quickly and would have to wait up to a year to negotiate. The officials, however, said any agreement would have to have strict requirements that would guarantee Congress had to act.

First, however, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Friday dispensed with the House-passed measure that would raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion on the condition that Congress sends a constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification and approves trillions in long-term spending cuts.

That left bargaining for a bipartisan compromise as the only alternative. Negotiations were proceeding on multiple fronts as officials searched for the clearest path to avoid a potentially devastating default. Each path faced sizable hurdles.

One short-term plan under discussion by some House Republicans would cut spending by $1 trillion or more immediately and raise the debt ceiling by a similar amount, permitting the government to borrow into early 2012. But Obama has insisted on an increase that lasts into 2013, past next year's elections. That would require raising the debt ceiling by about $2.4 trillion.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that Obama remains "unalterably opposed" to debt limit extensions in the order of six months, nine months or one year. "His premise is that we have to raise the debt ceiling for an extended period of time into 2013 regardless," Carney said.

Another plan under discussion by Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would guarantee that the president would get a debt ceiling increase through 2012. It would extract a political price from Obama, who would have to ask Congress for three separate increments, and it would allow Republicans to avoid casting a difficult vote in favor of the debt ceiling that would anger their constituents. Many House Republicans, however, were dismissive of the proposal because it did not guarantee deficit reductions.

Then there are the efforts by Obama and Boehner to close gaps on a deal to reduce deficits by about $4 trillion.

Democratic officials familiar with the discussions said both sides remained apart on key components of the deal, including the amount of revenue that a revamped tax code could yield, the nature of the changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and the process that would guarantee that both taxes and benefit programs would in fact be overhauled.

Republicans have insisted that entitlement programs such as Medicare need substantial changes, but have loudly objected to any revenue provision that could be deemed a tax increase. Democrats, eager to keep changes to their cherished health care programs to a minimum, have demanded that any plan must have new tax revenue.

Democrats in the Senate reacted angrily when word spread that Obama and the House leaders appeared to be closing in on a deal that would include $3 trillion in spending cuts but only a promise of higher revenues to be realized through a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code.

White House officials went out of their way to deny that a deal was near. By day's end Obama had asked the top four Democrats in the House and Senate to go to the White House to discuss the status of the talks. The meeting lasted one hour and 45 minutes.

In his opinion piece in USA Today, Obama said he was still insisting on tax revenue being part of the deal. Democratic officials said that Obama was not demanding that specific tax provisions, such as restrictions on tax subsidies or closing loopholes, be agreed upon immediately, but that they could be part of a broader tax overhaul that Congress would have to undertake.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left the door open to such an approach to tax changes. "I'd like to see it have a revenue piece so we have tax fairness, whether immediately or something that's part of an extended plan to it," she said Thursday.

The Democratic officials said the negotiations focus on immediate cuts to day-to-day operations of government that are financed at Congress' discretion. The legislative work to cut entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and to overhaul the tax system would have to be carried out over the next six month to a year, the officials said.

One key sticking point, they said, was how to force Congress to address entitlement and tax changes to achieve the desired deficit reduction. Under discussion were mechanisms that would trigger onerous tax and spending consequences if Congress tried to wiggle out.

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Associated Press writers David Espo, Ben Feller and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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