News Wrap: Congress returns from recess to tackle funding, Zika


GWEN IFILL:  In the day's other news:  Congress returned from its August recess with a full to-do list.  House Speaker Paul Ryan said the priority is to finance the government past October 1, when the fiscal year begins.  There's also pressure to approve money for fighting the Zika virus.  And it all has to get done in about three weeks, before lawmakers head home for the final dash to Election Day.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  President Obama was in the Asian nation of Laos today, attending a regional summit and pledging to heal scars from the Vietnam War.  He's the first sitting American president to visit Laos, and he cited a moral obligation to help the country recover from heavy U.S. bombing.

The president also met with South Korea's president at the summit, a day after North Korea test-fired more missiles.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  We are going to work diligently together with the most recent U.N. sanctions that are already placing North Korea under the most intense sanctions regime ever.  We are going to work together to make sure that we're closing loopholes and making them even more effective.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the North Korean missile tests and threatened new sanctions.

GWEN IFILL:  Security forces in Afghanistan ended a standoff today, killing three Taliban gunmen who seized a building in Kabul.  That left crews to clean up from a bombing that began the 11-hour siege.  The target was a building housing the aid group CARE International.  It all happened hours after twin bombings elsewhere in Kabul that killed 35 people.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Back in this country, one of the biggest for-profit college chains, ITT Technical institute, is closing all of its 130 U.S. campuses.  The announcement today affects some 35,000 students.  Last month, the U.S. Department of Education banned ITT from accepting new students who use federal aid, over allegations of poor-quality programs.

GWEN IFILL:  On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 46 points to close at 18538.  The Nasdaq rose 26 points, and the S&P 500 added six.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And American conservatives today marked the passing of a powerful voice, Phyllis Schlafly.  She died yesterday, after more than half-a-century of activism on major social issues.

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY, President, Eagle Forum:  The Equal Rights Amendment is a dead issue now.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Phyllis Schlafly was one of the leading conservative firebrands of her time, especially on the role of women in American society.  She rose to prominence in the early 1960s with a manifesto for the right, A Choice, Not an Echo.  It helped boost Senator Barry Goldwater to the top of the 1964 Republican presidential ticket.

A decade later, Schlafly led the drive to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA.  It would have barred gender discrimination, but Schlafly warned it wouldn't stop there.

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY:  And it is the position of the advocates of the Equal Rights Amendment that they don't want it unless they get, in the same package, abortion, abortion funding, gay rights, drafting women.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Schlafly said she was defending what she called the real rights of women, including the right to be in the home as a wife and a mother.  She and her Eagle Forum also became a force on other social issues, opposition to abortion chief among them.

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY:  The Republican Party must keep the pro-life plank in the platform and must reject any language in the text or in the preamble that will be perceived by the press and the public as watering down our 1984 and '88 platforms.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And she remained active into old age, even appearing at a rally in march for Donald Trump.  Phyllis Schlafly died of cancer at her Saint Louis home yesterday.  She was 92 years old.

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