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September 09, 2009 - Image 39

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 9. 2009 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
East Lansing, Mich.
Granholm outlines
plans for balancing
Mich. budget
Gov. Jennifer Granholm said
yesterday she wants to balance the
upcoming budget by cutting about
half the $1.2 billion Senate Repub-
licans have suggested while rais-
ing about $550 million in expanded
taxes and fees.
Many of the ideas had been men-
tioned previously but yesterday was
the first time the Democratic gover-
nor issued a written copy of her pro-
posal. She said her plan has been on
the table since Aug. 6 and includes
phasing out an unpopular business
tax surcharge over three years. The
Republican-controlled Senate fin-
ished passing its own budget-balanc-
ing plan in June.
But Democrats who control the
House still are discussing how they
want to tackle a $1.8 billion shortfall
in the state general fund and a $900
million gap in the school aid fund in
the budget year that starts Oct. 1.
Granholm said no one wants a
repeat of the 2007 state government
shutdown. She spoke with reporters
afterthe grand openingof a new IBM
center at Michigan State University.
Washington D.C.
Dem leader wants
'successful' plan
for Afghanistan
The Obama administration faced
growing skepticism from Congress
yesterday over the prospect of more
U.S. troops in Afghanistan as White
House officials intensified an inter-
nal debate over any new buildup.
Back from a month in their home
districts, House and Senate lawmak-
erssaid theywanted tosee strongevi-
dence from the administration and
military officials that ordering thou-
sands more troops to the war-torn
nation would dislodge insurgents
from safe havens in Afghanistan and
neighboring Pakistan.
"We'll want to see a plan, a plan
that members conclude can be suc-
cessful," House Majority Leader
Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters.
Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate
Republican on the Senate Armed
Services Committee,said it's far from
clear that the U.S. military mission
in Afghanistan can succeed, "despite
the enormous bravery of our troops
and talent of military leaders."
Rochester, Mich.
Oakland U. asks
judge to order
profs back to work
Oakland University has asked a
judge to order striking professors
back to work as classes remain can-
celed at the suburban Detroit univer-
sity.
A hearing was scheduled for 10
a.m. EDT today before Oakland
County Circuit Judge Edward Sos-
nick on the university's complaint
that the strike is illegal.

The campus chapter of the Ameri-
can Association of University Pro-
fessors authorized a walkout Sept.
2 after the university proposed a
three-year wage freeze along with
cuts in health-insurance benefits.
The Detroit News and Detroit
Free Press report progress has been
made in talks but negotiations broke
off early yesterday without an agree-
ment.
About 18,000 students attend the
public four-year school in Rochester.
Tehran, Iran
Iran raids raise
pressure on top
opposition leaders
Iranian security forces yesterday
cracked down on the opposition's
campaign to highlight torture and
abuse of prisoners in the country's
postelection crisis, shutting down
offices of pro-reform leaders and
arresting five of their aides in a
startling series of raids.
The raids hiked up the pressure
against the top opposition leaders,
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi
Karroubi, who hard-line clerics
and commanders of the powerful
Revolutionary Guards have said
should also be arrested.
The arrests suggested that
authorities aim to crush the cam-
paign led by Mousavi and Karroubi
to bring to light alleged torture
and rapes of protesters who were
detained in the heavy crackdown
against the opposition that fol-
lowed the disputed June presiden-
tial election.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Fines proposed for not
buying health insurance

Sen. Baucus says he
can no longer
support public option
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ameri-
cans would be fined up to $3,800
for failing to buy health insur-
ance under a plan that circulated
in Congress yesterday as divisions
among Democrats undercut Presi-
dent Barack Obama's effort to
regain traction on his health care
overhaul.
As Obama talked strategy with
Democratic leaders at the White
House, the one idea that most
appeals to his party's liberal base
lost ground in Congress. Pros-
pects for a government-run plan
to compete with private insur-
ers sank as a leading moderate
Democrat, Sen. Max Baucus of
Montana, said he could no longer
support the idea.
The fast-moving developments
put Obama in a box. As a candi-
date, he opposed fines to force
individuals to buy health insur-
ance, and he supported setting up
a public insurance plan.Yesterday,
fellow Democrats publicly begged
to differ on both ideas.
Democratic congressional lead-
ers put on a bold front as they left
the White House after their meet-
ing with the president.
"We're re-energized; we're
ready to do health care reform,"
said Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid of Nevada.

House SpeakertNancy Pelosi,
D-Calif., insisted the public plan
is still politically viable. "I believe
thatapublicoptionwillbeessential
to our passing a bill in the House of
Representatives," she said.
After a month of contentious
forums, Americans were seeking
specifics from the president in his
speech to a joint session of Con-
gress tonight. So were his fellow
Democrats, divided on how best
to solve the problem ofthe nation's
nearly 50 million uninsured.
The latest proposal: a ten-year,
$900-billion bipartisan compro-
mise that Baucus, who heads the
influential Finance Committee,
was trying to broker. It would
guarantee coverage for nearly all
Americans, regardless of medical
problems.
But the Baucus plan also
includes the fines that Obama has
rejected. In what appeared to be
a sign of tension, White House
spokesman Robert Gibbs point-
edly noted that the administration
had not received a copy ofthe plan
before it leaked to lobbyists and
news media yesterday.
The Baucus plan would require
insurers to take all applicants,
regardless of age or health. But
smokers could be charged higher
premiums.And60-year-oldscould
be charged five times as much for
a policy as 20-year-olds.
Baucus said Tuesday he's try-
ing to get agreement from a small
group of bipartisan negotiators
in advance of Obama's speech.

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