After a short break for the holidays, the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) will resume today with five quality matches and another of equal importance tomorrow.Promoted team Portmore United, who trail leaders Montego Bay United on goal difference, will have the opportunity to overtake the St James-based team for, at least, 24 hours if they get the better of visitors Reno at Juici Park in Clarendon. Mid-table Boys’ Town will play away to the struggling Cavalier SC at Stadium East while relegation-threatened Rivoli United will host the improving Harbour View at the Prison Oval.Eighth-placed UWI FC have been steadily showing that they belong among the big boys, and a victory over fourth-placed Humble Lion will make believers of others besides their growing band of fans, but, perhaps, the most interest will be in the Arnett Gardens-Waterhouse match at Drewsland. The Drewsland-based team has experienced the greatest reversal of form of all the teams in the League and are now looking to their third coach for the season, Paul Young, to deliver them from their sorry position.No wins yetIn their two matches under Young’s guidance so far, Waterhouse have played to two draws, scored six goals while conceding six. The second was a 4-4 draw with Cavalier FC, where the score resembled an incomplete set of a tennis match. While it was good that Waterhouse scored goals, Kenroy Howell scoring three, it also showed that they are very porous as Cavalier have struggled all season to find the back of the net and had only scored seven from their previous seven games.The above situation could be very inviting to defending champions Arnett Gardens.”Despite their poor showing when Waterhouse play against Arnett Gardens, they usually come with their best effort,” said Arnett Gardens coach Jerome Waite, perhaps masking his excitement at the prospect of facing them.”They have a good coach in Paul Young and, under his charge, they have played two games and have drawn both. They also scored six goals and conceded six, so they have positives in terms of the goals that they have scored, but they have negatives in terms of the goals they have conceded, so we will see,” added the analytical Waite.Young is hoping he can move the team to safety and possibly a semi-final place.”The effort is there at training every day. The attitude is good and the team spirit is good, so I am looking to good things on Sunday,” Young told The Gleaner last Thursday at the Red Stripe Premier League’s weekly press briefing at Red Stripe.However, if they are able to get their act together on the field, they may have a good chance to surprise the defending champions as they will be without two of their key players in defensive rock, captain O’Neil ‘Bigga’ Thompson and midfielder Renae Lloyd. With Thompson out of the backline, Jermain Anderson, Howell, and company may have a greater chance of advancing on goal.At the other end, the home team will have to pay great attention to their former player, Kemal Malcolm, who is having his best Premier League season so far with nine goals to be third on the goal scoring table. With Rohan Amos looking way past his best and Nicholi Finlayson looking casual at best, that combination could be easing pickings for Malcolm and the rejuvenated Leon Strickland, also a former Waterhouse player. Both could be aiming to show Waterhouse what they are missing.Today’s Games:5 p.m.: Cavalier vs Boys’ Town – Stadium East3 p.m.: Portmore United vs Reno – Juici Park, Clarendon3 p.m.: Rivoli United vs Harbour View – Prison Oval3 p.m.: UWI FC vs Humble Lion – UWI Bowl, Mona6 p.m.: Waterhouse vs Arnett Gardens – Drewsland StadiumTomorrow’s game:8:40 p.m.: Montego Bay United vs Tivoli Gardens – Montego Bay Sports Complex Points standingTeam P W D L GF GA GD PtsMoBay United 18 9 7 2 29 11 18 34Portmore 18 10 4 4 19 14 5 34Arnett 18 10 2 6 27 15 12 32Humble Lion FC 18 7 7 4 14 12 2 28H.View 18 6 7 5 18 18 0 25Boys’ Town 18 7 4 7 21 23 -2 25Reno 18 5 8 5 17 19 -2 23UWI FC 18 6 4 8 17 25 -8 22Tivoli 18 5 4 9 23 26 -3 19Cavalier 18 4 6 8 11 18 -7 18Rivoli 18 4 5 9 19 25 -6 17Waterhouse 18 3 6 9 17 26 -9 15
WASHINGTON – House Republicans sweated out a victory on a major budget cut bill in the wee hours today, salvaging a major pillar of their agenda despite divisions within the party and nervousness among moderates that the vote could cost them in next year’s elections. The bill, passed 217-215 after a 25-minute-long roll call, makes modest but politically painful cuts across an array of programs for the poor, students and farmers. The victory on the deficit-control bill came hours after an embarrassing and rare defeat on a $602 billion spending bill for education, health care and job training programs this year. The earlier 224-209 vote halted what had been a steady drive to complete annual appropriations bills freezing many agency budgets. The broader budget bill would slice almost $50 billion from the deficit by the end of the decade by curbing rapidly growing benefit programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and student loan subsidies. Republicans said reining in such programs whose costs spiral upward each year automatically s the first step to restoring fiscal discipline. To win House approval, Hastert ordered modest concessions on plans to limit eligibility for food stamps and require the poorest Medicaid patients to pay more for their care. He ordered killed a provision to deny free school lunches to about 40,000 children whose parents would lose their food stamps. Those changes and other promises won the votes of lawmakers who had earlier registered opposition to the bill, including James Walsh, R-N.Y., Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., and Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. The biggest concession came Thursday evening when Walsh won language permitting food stamp recipients making the transition to work to continue to be able to receive non-cash benefits for child care, transportation and housing without losing their nutrition benefits. An earlier 224-209 vote against a $602 billion spending bill for health, education and labor programs disrupted plans by the Republican leaders to complete work on freezing many agency budgets through next September. The afternoon vote was the first time in 10 years the House has rejected a final House-Senate compromise on a spending bill and the episode exposed weaknesses in the GOP leadership team after former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was forced to step down from his leadership post after his indictment on money laundering and conspiracy charges. Democrats were unanimous in opposing the one-year appropriations bill. The companion deficit-reduction bill also drew unanimous opposition from Democrats, who objected to both cuts in programs for the poor and the fact that the deficit-reduction bill would increase the deficit when combined with a tax slated for a vote later that would extend tax cuts on capital gains and dividend income due to expire at the end of 2008. “Name just one religion in the world that preaches the value of asking the most of those who have the least and asking nothing of those who have the most,” said Chet Edwards, D-Texas. “Sadly, that is what this budget does.” Republicans who voted “no” included Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, Tim Johnson of Illinois and Nancy Johnson, Christopher Shays and Rob Simmons of Connecticut. That overall bill would cut the deficit through a combination of new revenues from auctioning television airwaves to wireless companies and myriad cuts to entitlement programs like Medicaid. The earlier concession to moderates involved leaving co-payments for the poorest Medicaid beneficiaries at $3 instead of raising them to $5. A provision denying Medicaid nursing home benefits to people with home equity of $500,000 was modified by raising the cap to $750,000. Those changes came on top of concessions last week when Republican leaders, to appease moderates in their party, dropped provisions to open ANWR to oil drilling and to allow states to lift a moratorium on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Despite the changes, the core of the five year, $50 billion deficit-reduction bill remains intact. The most recent changes only chipped away at more than $800 million in cuts realized through cutting 300,000 working families from the food stamp program. On Medicaid, the bill would generate almost $12 billion in savings through new cost-sharing burdens on beneficiaries and by letting states scale back coverage. It also would tighten rules designed to limit the ability of elderly people to shed assets to qualify for nursing home care. The bill also reduces pharmacy profit margins and encourage pharmacies to issue generic drugs. On student loans, provision to increase interest rates and fees paid by student and parent borrowers would contribute to $14.3 billion in savings. The deficit-reduction bill is the first effort in eight years to take on the automatic growth of mandatory programs like Medicaid, which make up about 55 percent of the budget. By comparison, the annual appropriations bills fund about one-third of the budget. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “This unchecked spending is growing faster than our economy, faster than inflation, and far beyond our means to sustain it,” said Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa. Both bills are part of a campaign by Republican leaders to burnish their party’s budget-cutting credentials as they try to reduce a deficit swelled by spending on the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina. The budget plan squeaked through after an all-day search by Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., to round up votes from reluctant moderates and other lawmakers uneasy with the bill. House leaders now face arduous talks with the Senate, which passed a much more modest plan earlier this month. Negotiators face difficult negotiations over Arctic drilling, Medicaid and student loans, among other issues Fourteen Republicans voted “no,” including several who had harshly condemned the bill in the days leading up to the vote. Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn. – who faces a challenging Senate race – cast the decisive vote. Then, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, only reluctantly followed with the final “aye” vote. He was upset over a decision by Hastert to drop a long-sought provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, to oil drilling and sent a clear signal he would not vote for a final bill without the drilling plan.