06-14-2024  12:07 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

‘Feeling Our Age’: Oregon Artist Explores Aging Through Portraiture

64 women were painted and asked to reflect on lives well lived.

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Montavilla Pool to Reopen in July After Mandatory Maintenance

The pool will open later this summer due to an upgrade to the pool’s plumbing that required a more complex solution to achieve...

Coalition of 43 AGs Reach $700 Million Nationwide Settlement With Johnson and Johnson Over Deceptive Marketing; Oregon to Receive $15 Million

Today, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 42 other attorneys general announced they have reached a 0 million nationwide...

Juneteenth 2024 Events in Portland and Seattle

View events celebrating Juneteenth in the Portland and Seattle area ...

Kobi Flowers Crowned 2024 Rose Festival Queen

Flowers has been active in her school community as member of the leadership team at Self Enhancement, Inc., Varsity Cheer...

Summer Events are Shining Through at Multnomah County Library

Start your June by honoring Juneteenth, celebrating Pride and playing the Summer Reading game. ...

Washington's Makah Tribe could once again harpoon whales as US waives conservation law

SEATTLE (AP) — The United States granted the Makah Indian Tribe in Washington state a long-sought waiver Thursday that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999 and sets the stage for renewed clashes with animal rights activists. The Makah, a tribe of 1,500...

Washington state's Makah tribe is granted a waiver that helps clear the way for it to resume traditional whale hunts

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state's Makah tribe is granted a waiver that helps clear the way for it to resume traditional whale hunts....

Josh Sargent out for Colombia friendly, could miss Copa America

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — United States forward Josh Sargent could miss Saturday's friendly against Colombia and could be dropped from the Copa America roster. A 24-year-old from O'Fallon, Missouri, Sargent scored 16 goals in 26 league games with Norwich in England's second-tier League...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

OPINION

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

San Francisco park where a grandmother was fatally beaten will now have her name

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco park where a grandmother was beaten and then later died from her injuries will now bear her name. Family and friends will gather Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially usher in the newly named Yik Oi Huang Peace and Friendship...

Top US bishop worries Catholic border services for migrants might be imperiled by government action

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Government officials would be infringing on religious freedom if they were to restrict the Catholic Church’s work serving migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, says a top U.S. bishop. Archbishop Timothy Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic...

Alex Jones’ personal assets will be sold to help pay Sandy Hook debt as judge decides Infowars’ fate

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered the liquidation of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ′ personal assets but was still deciding on his company’s separate bankruptcy case, leaving the future of his Infowars media platform uncertain as he owes jumi.5 billion for his false claims that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Meet Will Butler, the singer-songwriter who makes Broadway's 'Stereophonic' rock

NEW YORK (AP) — The assignment was daunting: Write a song for an onstage moment of transcendence. Make it kind of funny and exciting and for a five-piece band. Write it so it justifies an audience sitting in their seats for two hours before they hear it. And, oh, it must plausibly be a rock hit...

Roger Daltrey talks new tour, thoughts on Broadway’s ‘Tommy’ and future of The Who

NEW YORK (AP) — As Roger Daltrey hits the road on a short solo tour this June, he’s unsure if fans will ever see another tour from The Who. “I don’t see it. I don’t know whether The Who’ll ever will go out again,” he told The Associated Press over Zoom. The...

Book Review: Yume Kitasei explores space in a heist-driven action adventure novel

Grad student Maya Hoshimoto is having a hard time settling down on Earth after a thrilling career as an art thief, stealing looted objects and returning them to their people. So when her best friend Auncle — an octopus-like being from another solar system — offers one last job, of course she...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Putin offers truce if Ukraine exits Russian-claimed areas and drops NATO bid. Kyiv rejects it

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Friday to “immediately” order a cease-fire in Ukraine and start...

G7 leaders tackle migration, AI and economic security on second and final day of summit in Italy

BARI, Italy (AP) — The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations turned their attention to migration,...

Bird flu is highly lethal to some animals, but not to others. Scientists want to know why

NEW YORK (AP) — In the last two years, bird flu has been blamed for the deaths of millions of wild and domestic...

What happened this week in the UK election campaign, from manifesto launches to robots and Haribos

LONDON (AP) — The U.K.'s general election campaign has now passed the halfway mark, and finally the main...

An Italian activist elected to European Parliament has been freed in Hungary, will return home soon

ROME (AP) — An Italian anti-fascist activist was released from house arrest in Hungary on Friday after being...

Moschino literally shreds the fashion rules on first day of Milan Fashion Week

MILAN (AP) — Milan Fashion Week reserved for mostly menswear previews opened Friday with two co-ed collections,...

David Espo AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress' supercommittee conceded ignominious defeat Monday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending.

Stock prices plummeted at home and across debt-scarred Europe as the panel ended its brief, secretive existence without an agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike pointed fingers of blame, maneuvering for political advantage in advance of 2012 elections less than a year away.

The impasse underscored grave doubts about Washington's political will to make tough decisions and left a cloud of uncertainty over the U.S. economy at the same time that Greece, Italy, Spain and other European countries are reeling from a spreading debt crisis and recession worries.

Lawmakers of both parties agreed action in Congress was still required, somehow, and soon.

"Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve," the panel's two co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., said in a somber statement.

They added it was not possible to present "any bipartisan agreement" - omitting any reference to the goal of $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade that had been viewed as a minimum for success.

President Barack Obama - criticized by Republicans for keeping the committee at arm's length - said refusal by the GOP to raise taxes on the wealthy was the main stumbling block to a deal. He pledged to veto any attempt by lawmakers to repeal a requirement for $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are to be triggered by the supercommittee's failure to reach a compromise, unless Congress approves an alternative approach.

Those cuts are designed to fall evenly on the military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as lawmakers in both parties have warned the impact on the Pentagon could be devastating.

In reality, though, it is unclear if any of those reductions will ever take effect, since next year's presidential and congressional elections have the potential to alter the political landscape before then.

The brief written statement from Murray and Hensarling was immediately followed by a hail of recriminations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans had "never found the courage to ignore the tea party extremists" and "never came close to meeting us half way."

But Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who authored a GOP offer during the talks, said, "Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues refused to agree to any meaningful deficit reduction without $1 trillion in job-crushing tax increases."

Said Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a GOP presidential hopeful, "It's amazing to what lengths he (Obama) will go to avoid making tough decisions."

It was unlikely the outcome would materially improve Congress' public standing - already well below 20-percent approval in numerous polls.

And the panel's failure left lawmakers confronting a large and controversial agenda for December, including Obama's call to extend an expiring payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. Democrats had wanted to add those items and more to any compromise, and lawmakers in both parties also face a struggle to stave off a threatened 27 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Based on accounts provided by officials familiar with the talks, it appeared that weeks of private negotiations did nothing to alter a fundamental divide between the two political parties. Before and during the talks, Democrats said they would agree to significant savings from benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security only if Republicans would agree to a hefty dose of higher taxes, including cancellation of Bush-era cuts at upper-income brackets. In contrast, The GOP side said spending, not revenue, was the cause of the government's chronic budget deficits, and insisted that the tax cuts approved in the previous decade all be made permanent.

The Democrats' "idea was this was the opportunity to raise taxes,'" said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's second-ranking Republican and a member of the supercommittee. "It didn't matter what we proposed; the price of that was going to be $1.3 trillion in new taxes," he added in a CNBC interview, although Democrats made at least two offers that called for smaller amounts of additional tax revenue.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on MSNBC, "I have demonstrations outside my office. I've had rallies. I've had unbelievable amount of pushback because we were ready and prepared to put on the table some of those so-called sacred cows." Republicans, he said, refused to consider cancellation of the tax cuts for the wealthy.

The talks also were hampered by internal divisions within both parties.

Republicans offered a plan crafted by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania about two weeks ago that included an additional $250 billion in tax revenue through an overhaul of the tax code that included reducing the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. Some Republicans criticized it as a violation of the party's long-standing pledge not to raise taxes. Even some in the GOP leadership, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, declined to endorse it in public.

At the same time, Democrats ridiculed it as a tax cut for the rich in disguise - even privately criticizing Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., when he said it could signal a breakthrough - and it failed to generate any momentum toward compromise. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others also accused Republicans of bowing to the wishes of Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist whose organization has gathered signatures from GOP candidates on a petition pledging never to raise taxes.

And Democrats had problems of their own. An offer presented by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to cut about $3 trillion from future deficits failed to win the backing of two of the six committee members of his own party. Officials said they objected because it would have curtailed future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, some liberals said in remarks on the Senate floor they opposed it and Republicans criticized them for intransigence.

Baucus jettisoned it from a subsequent offer that also slashed an earlier demand for tax revenues.

The panel's failure marked the end of an extraordinary yearlong effort by divided government to grapple with budget deficits that lawmakers of both parties and economists of all persuasions agreed were unsustainable.

Negotiations in the Capitol led by Vice President Joseph Biden were followed by an extraordinary round of White House talks in which Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sought a sweeping compromise to cut trillions from future deficits. They outlined a potential accord that would make far-reaching changes in Medicare and other programs, while generating up to $800 billion in higher revenue through an overhaul of the tax code. But in the end, they failed to agree.

By contrast, the supercommittee never came close, instead swapping increasingly small-bore offers that the other side swiftly rejected.

Within the past week, Democrats said they would accept a Republican framework for $400 billion in higher tax revenue and $800 billion or so in spending cuts, while rejecting numerous key proposals.

Late last week, Boehner floated an offer that included $543 billion in spending cuts, fees and other non-tax revenue, as well as $3 billion in tax revenue from closing a special tax break for corporate purchases of private jets. It also assumed $98 billion in reduced interest costs.

It was swiftly rejected.

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Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Laurie Kellman contributed to this story.

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast