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News Wrap: Congress approves short-term funding bill, averting shutdown

April 28, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
In our news wrap Friday, the House and Senate approved a short-term funding bill to prevent a government shutdown at midnight. Lawmakers hope next week to finish a spending package to fund the government through the end of September. Also, two U.S. Army rangers killed in Afghanistan may have been the victims of friendly fire.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s word tonight that North Korea has test-fired another ballistic missile. South Korea’s military says it happened early Saturday, local time.

A U.S. government source told Reuters that initial indications suggest the test was a failure. It comes as the U.S. warns that the North’s nuclear and missile programs are a growing threat. We will return to the North Korea story right after the news summary.

In the day’s other news: Congress has gone home for the weekend, and the federal government will go on running for another week. The House and Senate today approved a short-term funding bill to prevent a shutdown tonight at midnight. The voting took place after leaders on both sides lamented the need for the stopgap measure.

REP. RODNEY FRELINGHUYSEN, R-N.J.: The continuing resolution is never anyone’s first choice for funding the government. However, this is our best path forward. This C.R. is very short-term, very limited scope and will help us complete our important work.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: We shouldn’t be in this situation. We shouldn’t have allowed partisan politics to once again turn a looming deadline into a political standoff with, really, a manufactured crisis.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Next week, lawmakers aim to finish a package to fund the government through September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

Two U.S. Army Rangers killed in Afghanistan this week may have been victims of friendly fire. They were taking part in a raid on Islamic State forces in an eastern province. The Pentagon said today it is not clear whether they were fired on by Afghan commandos or other American troops.

The National Security Agency has announced a major shift in surveillance policy. It will no longer collect e-mails or text messages simply because they mention a foreign intelligence target. Instead, only those sent to or from a target will be collected. Privacy advocates had pushed for the change.

President Trump vowed today to defend gun rights as he addressed the National Rifle Association in Atlanta. His appearance at the group’s annual convention was the first by a sitting president since Ronald Reagan, 34 years ago. Mr. Trump painted a stark contrast between his priorities and those of the Obama administration.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The NRA is now pushing for federal legislation to make any state’s concealed-carry permit valid anywhere in the country.

On another issue, the president served notice to South Korea today that he wants to renegotiate or terminate a free trade agreement between the two countries. In an interview with Reuters, he called the five-year-old deal horrible and unacceptable.

Arkansas has wrapped up an accelerated execution schedule with its fourth lethal injection this month. Kenneth Williams was put to death last night for a murder in 1999. A witness said that Williams convulsed as he was administered the first drug, a sedative. The governor said that involuntary motions are a widely-known side effect.

Former President George H.W. Bush is back home tonight from a Houston hospital. He was released after two weeks of treatment for pneumonia and then bronchitis. The 41st president is 92 years old.

And on Wall Street, stocks edged lower after first-quarter growth in the U.S. turned out to be the weakest in three years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points to close at 20940. The Nasdaq fell one point, and the S&P 500 slipped four. For the week, all three indexes rose 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

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