Budget talks to resume on ‘cliff’
With time running out, some lawmakers doubt a deal will get done before the deadline. Police chief seeks to restart safety measures after city experiences most deaths in decade.
President Barack Obama is expected to meet with congressional leaders Friday and House Republicans summoned lawmakers back for a Sunday session in a last-ditch effort to avert a fiscal crisis brought on by automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.
Republicans expressed a flicker of hope Thursday that a deal could still be reached to at least avert most of the tax increases Tuesday, to prevent a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients and to extend expiring unemployment benefits.
But both parties’ leaders said time is running out.
“Here we are, five days from the new year, and we might finally start talking,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.
The overriding emotion Thursday, as senators convened for a rare session between Christmas and New Year’s Day, appeared to be embarrassment. The continuing impasse “demonstrates a tremendous lack of courage here in Washington to address the issues that need to be addressed — at every level,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Lawmakers and aides from
By Claudia Grisales
Police Chief Art Acevedo said Thursday he’s hopeful officials will be able to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 following what has been the deadliest year on Austin’s roadways in more than a decade.
There have been 77 traffic deaths in Austin this year, the most the city has seen since the same number was recorded in 2000.
Acevedo told the American-Statesman that he hopes a combination of factors — such as reinstituting successful traffic safety initiatives, boosting patrols, creating stiffer penalties and conducting a regional “traffic summit” with other law enforcement agencies — will lower the death toll in 2013.
“It’s been a really bad year,” Acevedo said after a news conference at City Hall announcing a New Year’s Eve traffic safety initiative. “It was a bloody year on our highways. There is no excuse for it. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 77 76 71 52 73 61 64 60 59 62 49 54