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In brief: Payroll tax cut tied to pipeline in bill

Washington – House Republicans unveiled a bill Friday renewing the Social Security payroll tax cut and extending but trimming unemployment benefits. Language jump-starting work on a controversial oil pipeline, however, is likely to create a showdown with President Barack Obama.

With Democrats claiming the measure is too stingy toward jobless and lower-income people, next week’s House vote looms as the opening scuffle in a year-end battle.

The two parties generally agree on the bill’s pillars: preventing the Jan. 1 expiration of payroll tax cuts and of extra coverage for the long-term unemployed, and avoiding a mandated cut in payments the government sends doctors for treating Medicare patients.

But the GOP tax cut and jobless benefits are less generous than Democrats want. And Republicans ignore the White House’s preference to finance the bill by boosting taxes on millionaires.

66 port police earn over $200,000

New York – A rank-and-file policeman at the George Washington Bridge has made more than $200,000 so far this year, along with dozens of other police officers for the agency that patrols New York City’s airports, the tunnels under the Hudson River and the new World Trade Center site.

Payroll figures and names released for the first time Friday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey show 66 police officers have made more than $200,000 so far in 2011, thanks to overtime that in many cases has doubled their salaries.

The bridge patrolman made $221,706. A sergeant on a special-operations team pulled in $265,059. That puts him far above executives like Aviation Director Susan Baer, who oversees three of the world’s busiest airports – JFK, LaGuardia and Newark – and two other airports. She’s made $237,971 so far this year.

Man runs obit to get time off work

Brookville, Pa. – Authorities in northwestern Pennsylvania said a man published an obituary for his living mother in a ploy to get paid bereavement time off from work.

Relatives called the Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper in Brookville after the obit appeared, to report the woman was actually alive and well. The woman herself then visited the paper.

Brookville police charged 45-year-old Scott Bennett on Tuesday with disorderly conduct.

Democrat editor Randy Bartley said he accepted the obituary in good faith after being unable to confirm the funeral arrangements at press time. He told The Derrick newspaper on Friday that the woman was very understanding.


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