News Wrap: Biden signs short-term spending bill, averting government shutdown

In our news wrap Friday, President Biden signed a short-term spending bill that averts a government shutdown, the latest jobs report shows fewer Americans were hired in November, a Virginia recount confirmed a Republican sweep in major races in the November election, and the Taliban announced a ban on forced marriage of women in Afghanistan.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A man accused of killing 10 people in Colorado last March has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, for now.

    Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly opened fire at a supermarket in Boulder last March. Prosecutors asked today that he be sent to a state mental facility for treatment.

    The news out on jobs today is a mixed picture, some very good, some less so. The November U.S. hiring report indicates that fewer jobs were added last month than expected. The net gain of 210,000 was the smallest monthly increase since last December. However, a separate survey of households shows five times that many people reported finding work.

    The unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent. That's the best it's been since the pandemic struck. The two surveys typically are reconciled later. In addition, average wages rose nearly 5 percent from a year ago.

    President Biden signed a short-term spending bill today that averts a government shutdown this weekend. The legislation funds federal agencies through mid-February, mostly at current spending levels. It passed the U.S. Senate last night, after a handful of Republicans lost a bid to block federal vaccine mandates.

    On the pandemic, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, and Utah are the latest states reporting cases of the new Omicron variant. And, worldwide, Omicron has now spread to more than 40 nations.

    But at the White House, the president said today it is enough for now to require stricter testing for people who enter the U.S.

    Joe Biden, President of the United States: I think I know a fair amount about this issue. But I'm not a scientist, so I continue to rely on the scientists and asking them whether or not we have to move beyond what we did yesterday. Right now, they're saying no.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president sounded husky during his appearance, and said that he has a cold that he contracted from a grandchild. His personal physician confirmed that the president does not have COVID.

    A recount in Virginia has confirmed a Republican sweep of the major races in the November elections. A three-judge panel today certified a recount that gave the GOP control of the state House of Delegates. The party also won races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban announced a ban on forced marriages of women. A new decree said that women should be treated equally, and not as property. But it made no mention of access to education and employment. A number of nations have demanded such steps before they recognize the Taliban government or restore financial aid.

    China's real estate giant Evergrande warned today that it may run out of funds to cover $300 billion in debt. The company has been struggling for weeks. Its default could trigger a financial crisis in China, possibly with global implications.

    Back in this country, Wall Street gave ground as investors tried to parse the November jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 59 points to close at 34580. The Nasdaq fell 295 points, nearly 2 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 38.

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