Nation Briefs

In Washington, no budging at the budget-cuts deadline

WASHINGTON – Gridlocked once more, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders refused to budge in their budget standoff Friday as $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts bore down on individual Americans and the nation’s still-recovering economy. “None of this is necessary,” said the president after a sterile White House meeting that portended a long standoff.

The president met with top lawmakers for less than an hour at the White House, then sought repeatedly to fix the blame on Republicans for the broad spending reductions and any damage that they inflict.

“They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” he said, renewing his demand for a comprehensive deficit-cutting deal that includes higher taxes.

Republicans said they wanted deficit cuts, too, but not tax increases.

“The president got his tax hikes on Jan. 1,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters, a reference to a $600 billion increase on higher wage earners that cleared Congress on the first day of the year. Now, he said after the meeting, it is time take on “the spending problem here in Washington.”

Governor denies parole to ex-Manson follower

LOS ANGELES – Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday reversed a parole board and denied the release of a former Charles Manson follower who has served more than 40 years in prison.

The board had recently approved the release of 70-year-old Bruce Davis but left the final decision to the governor.

Brown gave his decision to The Associated Press at the downtown Los Angeles County courthouse after a meeting with District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who had recommended that Davis not be paroled.

Davis would have been only the second Manson-related murder defendant to be granted parole since the killing spree began in 1969.

Southern California wildfire 40 percent contained

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Firefighters stopped the spread of a 311-acre wildfire in the heavily vegetated Santa Ana River bottom Friday, despite gusty Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions amid a late-winter heat spell.

Firefighters continued to work on hotspots, and a firefighting helicopter was on standby, said Greg Birchfield, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Riverside County.

Containment was estimated at 40 percent. Afternoon conditions included northeast winds at 10-15 mph with gusts to 20-25 mph with temperatures in the low 80s and relative humidity at just 5 percent.

No injuries were reported, Birchfield said.

At its peak, the fire downed power lines and burned near a residential area, prompting a call for voluntary evacuations. That order was lifted and electricity was restored by Friday morning, county fire officials said.

Associated Press