06-14-2024  12:26 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

We have a deal: South African president set for reelection after a dramatic late coalition agreement

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to be reelected for a second term Friday after his African National Congress party signed a last-minute coalition agreement with its long-time political rival as the new Parliament convened to choose the...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

Some Mexican shelters see crowding south of the border as Biden's asylum ban takes hold

MATAMOROS, Mexico (AP) — Some shelters south of the U.S. border are caring for many more migrants now that the...

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.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast