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Oklahoma Senators Vote to Avoid Fiscal Cliff
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Both Oklahoma senators voted in favor of legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and major spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
"In my state, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe are pretty conservative guys by anybody's standards. The fact that both of them looked at this and felt comfortable voting for it certainly makes it a lot easier for anybody from Oklahoma to vote for it," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).
The Senate approved the legislation by an 89-8 vote early Tuesday. The measure now heads to the House.
"This is very serious what happens, what unfolds in the next few hours," said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK).
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says the deal is not perfect but that he's pleased the legislation makes permanent the tax cuts passed under the George W. Bush administration. Inhofe says he's also pleased the bill includes an extension to the farm bill and that lawmakers avoided cuts to the military.
His fellow Republican, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, says he's pleased the measure prevents massive tax increases. But both senators say Congress still has much work to do to address the country's spending and entitlement programs.
Below is a breakdown of what's under the Senate package:
-- Taxes would stay the same for most Americans. But they will increase for individuals making more than $400,000 and couples making more than $450,000. For them, it will go from the current 35% to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6%.
-- Itemized deductions would be capped for those making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000.
-- Taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40% from 35%.
-- Unemployment insurance would be extended for a year for 2 million people.
-- The alternative minimum tax -- a perennial issue -- would be permanently adjusted for inflation.
-- Child care, tuition and research and development tax credits would be renewed.
-- The "Doc Fix" -- reimbursements for doctors who take Medicare patients -- will continue, but it won't be paid for out of the Obama administration's signature health care law.
-- A spike in milk prices will be avoided. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said milk prices would have doubled to $7 a gallon because a separate agriculture bill had expired.
Posted: Tuesday, January 1 2013, 09:50 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Agency opens mental health center in Moore
May 22, 2013 07:35 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has opened a center in Moore to assist in the tornado recovery.
The agency said Tuesday that it is treating people on a walk-in basis and offering training for licensed mental health professionals who want to help.
The training, which is also for certified case managers and recovery support specialists, includes a refresher on psychological first aid, special response protocols, and an overview of the planned mental health response.
Officials say that mental health providers have to undergo the training to get into the disaster zone.
The mental health center is operating at the Cleveland County Health Department office in Moore.
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