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National news briefs — compiled on April 1

WASHINGTON

Ryan’s budget plan debuts

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled an updated Republican budget plan Tuesday that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over the coming decade and promises to balance the government’s books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class. Ryan’s plan would also cut Pell Grants for low-income students and pensions for federal workers. The proposal would reprise a voucher-like Medicare program for future retirees that would be the basis for GOP claims that the measure would drive down government debt. It also relies on scorekeeping help from the Congressional Budget Office, reflecting the beneficial effects of deficit cuts on long-term economic growth and tax revenues. The plan should skate through the Budget Committee today but faces challenges on the floor next week. While repealing the benefits of “Obamacare,” Ryan would preserve its tax increases and cuts to providers.

PLYMOUTH, WASH.

Gas explosion investigated

State and federal regulators looking for what caused an explosion at a liquefied natural gas facility on the Washington-Oregon border began interviewing injured workers Tuesday as an evacuation order covering hundreds of nearby residents was lifted. Also Tuesday, a team of firefighters and plant employees went inside the Williams Northwest Pipeline storage facility and found no lingering fire. The safety check came after the blast Monday injured five employees and ruptured a huge liquefied natural gas storage tank. The Benton County Sheriff’s Department ended the evacuation order that affected an estimated 300 people living in the tiny town of Plymouth as well as the area within a 1-mile radius of the plant.

SACRAMENTO, calif.

Powerball winner not joking

The sole winner of February’s $425 million Powerball jackpot came forward to claim his prize Tuesday. California Lottery officials said B. Raymond Buxton, a Northern California man, claimed the prize at the lottery headquarters in Sacramento. When he claimed his prize Tuesday, Buxton was wearing a shirt that featured a picture of the Star Wars character Yoda and read, “Luck of the Jedi I have.” According to his publicist Sam Singer, one reason that Buxton came forward on April 1 — April Fools’ Day — is simply that he has a healthy sense of humor. Buxton has been working since February with an attorney and financial adviser to establish new bank accounts, set up a charity and sort out tax issues. Buxton bought the one winning ticket for the Feb. 19 drawing at a convenience store in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Milpitas. Buxton chose to take a lump-sum payment of $242.2 million before taxes, lottery officials said.

Compiled from wire reports.



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