WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has prepared a $4.8 trillion budget plan that appears to rehash previously rejected spending cuts while leaving Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched. Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget plan, to be released later today, seeks to wrestle trillion-dollar-plus deficits into balance after 15 years. However, it isn’t likely to generate a serious Washington dialogue about what to do during an election year over entrenched fiscal problems that have deficits surging despite a healthy economy.
The budget’s most significant policy prescriptions — an immediate 5% cut to non-defense agency budgets passed by Congress and $700 billion in cuts to Medicaid over a decade — are nonstarters on Capitol Hill. Trump’s budget blueprint assumes 2.8% economic growth this year and growth averaging 3% over the long term and says the plan would reduce the deficit to $261 billion within a decade if enacted in its entirety and promises balance after 15 years.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families.”
PUERTO RICO-ECONOMIC CRISIS
Puerto Rico governor rejects new deal to cut debt by 70%
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Officials say there’s been a settlement with bondholders that would reduce Puerto Rico’s public debt by 70%, but the U.S. territory’s governor swiftly rejected it, saying it puts too heavy a burden on the island’s retirees.
The settlement is the biggest one to date since Puerto Rico’s government announced in 2015 that it was unable to pay its more than $70 billion public debt load and filed for the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in May 2017.
The newest deal reached between a federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances and several groups of bondholders would reduce the island’s bond debt from some $35 billion to roughly $11 billion.
However, Gov. Wanda Vázquez rejected the settlement and noted it still requires legislative approval.
British Airways flight crosses Atlantic in less than 5 hours
UNDATED (AP) — A British Airways plane flew between New York and London in less than five hours this weekend, setting a record for subsonic plane travel. The flight took just four hours and 56 minutes, nearly two hours less than it was scheduled. A spokesman for the flight tracking site Flightradar24 said the jet stream dips down a bit during the winter and the conditions were perfect for flights across the North Atlantic to take advantage of that. According to the tracking site, the flight beat out the previous record between the two cities, which was five hours and 13 minutes.
The previous record was held by a Norwegian Air flight, which flew between the two cities with a flight time of five hours and 13 minutes.
The flight had been expected to take 102 minutes longer. The recent average flight time between New York and London is 6 hours and 13 minutes, according to Flightradar24.
British Airways just narrowly beat out a Virgin Atlantic flight, which arrived in London at around the same time but one minute slower.
Flight attendants’ leader says employees at breaking point
UNDATED (AP) — The president of the largest U.S.-based flight attendants’ union says too many airline workers, especially at smaller regional carriers, are struggling to get by even as airlines report multibillion-dollar profits. In an interview with The Associated Press, Sara Nelson says some are nearing the boiling point, and there could be wildcat walkouts despite a federal law that makes it nearly impossible for airline workers to strike. She says workers are just being pushed too hard.
Nelson also says that airline employees took incredible cuts during the airline bankruptcies from 2001 through 2013. Some with 30% to 40% cut in pay, loss of pensions, a shift of costs and burden for health care. Nelson says employees are working longer hours to make essentially the same money.
She also talks about the reluctance of flight attendants to get back on the Boeing 737 Max, which has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes. Nelson says that flight attendants need to see that pilots and engineers and worldwide regulators, and our airlines are all on board with Boeing’s fix for the plane and the plan to return the Max to service.
Pope to Web companies: guard against human traffickers’ bait
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called on internet-based companies Sunday to be vigilant about keeping human traffickers from using electronic communications to entrap victims.
Francis said during his remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square that the “plague” of human trafficking “exploits the weakest.” He said research has shown that criminal organizations use the “most modern means of communications to snare their victims with deception.”
The pope said education is needed on the “healthy” use of modern technology and “suppliers of such electronic services must be held to their responsibilities.”
Jobs advertised on the internet have sometimes turned out to be ruses for tricking people who respond into prostitution, slave labor or other forms of exploitation. Migrants have traveled to wealthy countries, had their passports seized by the human smugglers who brought them, and forced into prostitution or other illegal activities.
Gas prices down 7 cents per gallon to $2.53 in past 2 weeks
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 7 cents per gallon to $2.53 over the past two weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that gas prices responded to falling crude oil costs.
The price at the pump is 19 cents higher than it was a year ago.
The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.54 per gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $2.04 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.