JIM LEHRER: In other news today, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 36 points to close at 8,146. The Nasdaq rose 3 points to close at 1,756. For the week, the Dow lost 1.5 percent; the Nasdaq fell more than 2 percent.
The push to overhaul the health care system ran into new delays today. House Democrats pushed back releasing their bill until next week or maybe later. That’s after conservative Democrats, known as the Blue Dogs, demanded major changes.
In Italy, at the G-8 summit, President Obama said he still hopes Congress acts before its August recess.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S., President: We’re closer to that significant reform than at any time in recent history. That doesn’t make it easy. It’s hard. And we are having a whole series of constant negotiations.
JOURNALIST: Is it pretty much a do-or-die by the August recess?
BARACK OBAMA: I never believe anything is do-or-die, but I really want to get it done by the August recess.
JIM LEHRER: Negotiations on a Senate bill also ran into resistance this week over the issue of taxing health benefits.
Democratic Senator Roland Burris of Illinois will not run for a full term next year; he announced that today in Chicago. Burris was appointed last year by Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill President Obama’s old Senate seat. The governor was later forced from office over allegations he tried to sell that seat. Burris said he’s bowing out because he had trouble raising money for a campaign.
SEN. ROLAND BURRIS (D), Illinois: I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of the state of Illinois should always come first; the business of our state should come first.
JIM LEHRER: Burris has denied wrongdoing in his own dealings with Blagojevich, but his public support melted away and leading Democrats opposed keeping him in the Senate.
In China, the death toll in ethnic rioting rose to 184. The state-run news agency announced 137 of the victims belonged to the Han Chinese majority. Nearly all of the rest were Muslim Uighurs. The trouble erupted last Sunday in northwestern China. Since then, thousands of troops have flooded the region to enforce order.
Eight more British soldiers have been killed in action in Afghanistan; the announcement today made 15 British fatalities in 10 days. And Prime Minister Brown warned there will be more violence and deaths in Afghanistan. He said, “This is a very hard summer. It’s not over.”