JUDY WOODRUFF: The countdown is on to a possible government shutdown on Saturday, President Trump’s 100th day in office.
Congress began returning to work today facing a presidential demand for funding a wall on the Mexico border. The White House and Democrats argued today over putting a down payment in the continuing resolution, or C.R.
SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: Obviously the money for military and our border security and wall have been part of that request. And that’s something that — those are the president’s priorities heading in — with respect to the C.R. and keeping the government open. I think we feel very confident where we’re headed.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., Minority Leader: If administration insists on funding for a wall in this bill, it will endanger the prospects of bill passing and raise the prospects of a government shutdown, because a border wall we believe is a pointless waste of taxpayer money.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Some Republicans oppose money for the wall as well. Democrats do want continued federal payments to make sure that the poor can afford health coverage, but Republicans may oppose that.
President Trump called in members of the U.N. Security Council today, and warned them that the situation in North Korea is unacceptable. The president met with the U.N. ambassadors over lunch at the White House. He said they may need to take firm action.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem, and it’s a problem we have to finally solve. People have put blindfolds on for decades.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president complained that the U.N. has not been resolving conflicts, but he said — quote — “I think that’s going to start happening now.”
Former President Barack Obama has reemerged urging compassion in dealing with illegal immigration. He spoke today at the University of Chicago, his first public appearance since leaving office. Without mentioning President Trump by name, Mr. Obama called for greater understanding and a little historical perspective.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It’s not like everybody in Ellis Island had all their papers straight. The truth is, the history of our immigration system has always been a little bit haphazard, a little bit loose.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The former president said he will also focus on issues like gerrymandering and money in politics.
Workers in New Orleans today removed a statue honoring an uprising by whites after the Civil War. The operation was carried out in the wee hours, but still sparked a protest. The obelisk statue had been on display, at different sites, since 1891. Three monuments to Confederate leaders will be removed in the coming days.
The Senate has confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be secretary of agriculture. His nomination had been held up for weeks over ethics questions. The Trump nominees for trade representative and labor secretary are still awaiting confirmation.
Wall Street rallied today, amid hopes that a centrist will win the French presidential election. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 216 points to close near 20764. The Nasdaq rose 73, and the S&P 500 added 25.
And astronaut Peggy Whitson has now broken the American record for the most accumulated time in space. As of today, she’s spent more than 534 days in orbit. President Trump, with daughter Ivanka and astronaut Kate Rubins, congratulated Whitson in a video call to the International Space Station. She’s in command there, and spoke alongside fellow crew member Jack Fischer.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight.
PEGGY WHITSON, NASA Astronaut: It’s actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it’s an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wow. Congratulations.
And when Whitson returns to Earth this September, she will have spent a total of 666 days in space. The world record is 879 days. That’s held by a Russian.