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Top EU lawmaker intervenes to try to save Canada trade pact

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 7:31am

The Belgian region of Wallonia affirmed Saturday it still stands in the way of a trade deal between the 28-nation European Union and Canada, but its leader and a top EU lawmaker were cautiously optimistic that the standoff could be resolved within days.

WHY IT MATTERS: Social Security

Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 2:21am

THE ISSUE: More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children rely on monthly Social Security benefits. That's nearly one in five Americans. The trustees who oversee Social Security say the program has enough money to pay full benefits until 2034. But at that point, Social Security will collect only enough taxes to pay 79 percent of benefits. Unless Congress acts, millions of people on fixed incomes would get an automatic 21 percent cut in benefits.

WHY IT MATTERS: Infrastructure

David A. Lieb, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 2:10am

THE ISSUE: The U.S. interstate highway system, celebrating its 60th birthday this year, is showing its age. Many roads and bridges are in need of repair or expansion. Similar problems exist for public drinking and wastewater systems, dams and levees, airports, railroads and mass transit systems. Politicians generally agree the nation's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Deciding how to pay for it and which projects should take priority is more difficult.

WHY IT MATTERS: Student Debt

Josh Boak, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:51am

THE ISSUE: More Americans are getting buried by student debt — causing delays in home ownership, limiting how much people can save and leaving taxpayers at risk as many loans go unpaid. The statistics look daunting.

Emails show Clinton campaign weighing Keystone XL decision

Michael Biesecker, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:31am

Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton's campaign wrestled with how to announce her opposition to construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline without losing the support of labor unions that supported to project.

WHY IT MATTERS: Beneath the fury, issues that matter

Calvin Woodward, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:23am

This is a presidential campaign about trust, temperament, honesty, judgment, character, personality and, some would say, a personality disorder or two.


Bradley Klapper, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:22am

THE ISSUE: Last year's nuclear deal has removed for now the threat of a U.S.-Iranian military confrontation. But the deal rests on shaky ground.


Matthew Daly, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:20am

THE ISSUE: Energy independence has been a goal of every president since Richard Nixon. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different ways to achieve it. How energy is produced and where it comes from affect jobs, the economy and the environment.

WHY IT MATTERS: The Role of Government

Josh Lederman, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 1:20am

THE ISSUE: It's the Goldilocks conundrum of American politics: Is the federal government too big, too small or just right?

WHY IT MATTERS: Wall Street Regulation

Marcy Gordon, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 12:11am

THE ISSUE: The financial crisis that struck in 2008 touched off the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression, wiping out $11 trillion in U.S. household wealth and leaving about 8 million Americans jobless. More than 5 million families lost their homes to foreclosure. Reckless trading and aggressive practices on Wall Street in the prior boom years were pinned with much of the blame.


Alan Fram, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 22nd - 12:00am

THE ISSUE: Politicians love trying to use the tax code to highlight their goals to voters. This year, it's a battlefield between Hillary Clinton, who wants to boost levies on the rich to pay for expanding social programs, and Donald Trump, who says cutting taxes would gird the economy. The clash has consequences for the rich, poor and those in the middle.

WHY IT MATTERS: Child Care and Pay Equity

Anne Flaherty, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:40pm

THE ISSUE: In much of the United States, families spend more on child care for two kids than on housing. And if you're a woman, it's likely you earn less than your male colleagues even though 1 in 4 households with kids relies on mom as the sole or primary breadwinner. That's according to the latest research that suggests while the U.S. economy has improved, women and their families are still struggling to make the numbers work.


Matthew Pennington, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:40pm

THE ISSUE: Tensions have been rising between China and the United States. China is modernizing its military and pressing its sovereignty claims over the disputed South China Sea, an important route for global trade. The U.S. is pushing back by increasing its military presence in Asia, which China views as provocative. The U.S. also accuses China of unfair trading practices and cyber theft of business secrets. Tough action by either side could spark a skirmish at sea or a trade war that would make many goods in the U.S. more expensive.

WHY IT MATTERS: Minimum Wage

Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:30pm

THE ISSUE: Modest income growth for most Americans, strikes by fast-food workers, and the rapid growth of low-paying jobs at the same time middle-income work shrinks have combined to make the minimum wage a top economic issue for the 2016 campaign. Millions could benefit: Raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12 would lift pay for 35 million workers, or 1 in 4 employees nationwide, according to the liberal Economic Policy Institute. But it would also boost costs for employers and may slow hiring. And it could lead to higher prices at clothing stores and restaurants and for other services.


Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:21pm

THE ISSUE: Tepid income growth and shrinking opportunities for blue-collar workers have kept many Americans anxious about jobs and the economy, seven years after the Great Recession ended.


Andrew Taylor, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:20pm

THE ISSUE: The Internal Revenue Service touches everyone, not just taxpayers but anyone who receives a government check, drives on roads made possible by tax revenue or sends a child to a school helped by Washington. It's a touch that can come with a heavy hand, in the eyes of critics who believe the agency's far-reaching powers are abused and need to be tamed.

WHY IT MATTERS: Income inequality

Josh Boak, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:20pm

THE ISSUE: The rich keep getting richer while more Americans are getting left behind financially.

WHY IT MATTERS: Debate showed how divisive trade has become

Paul Wiseman, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 11:10pm

THE ISSUE: Free trade has become a ripe target in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Pennsylvania crews monitor ruptured pipeline, drinking water

Megan Trimble and Mark Scolforo, Associated Press  |  Posted  Oct 21st - 10:50pm

Emergency crews were monitoring a pipeline that ruptured during a freak storm in Pennsylvania, anxiously waiting to see if nearly 55,000 gallons of gasoline would reach drinking water supplies serving thousands of residents.