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News Wrap: Congress considers fix to bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

In our news wrap Thursday, Republican congressional leaders opened the door for changes in a new law allowing the relatives of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. White House spokesman John Earnest said Congress may be having buyers remorse after overriding President Obama’s veto of the measure. Also, the U.S. is on the verge of ending its Syrian talks with Russia, due to to the assault on Aleppo.

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    In the day's other news: Republican leaders in both houses of Congress opened the door to changes in a new law allowing relatives of the 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, this just one day after lawmakers pushed the measure through to passage, and, in so doing, managed the first override of a veto by President Obama.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faulted the White House for being too slow to point out problems.

  • SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Majority Leader:

    I think it was an example of an issue we should have on a bipartisan basis talked about much earlier, because everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were, but nobody really had focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships. And I think it was just a ball dropped.


    House Speaker Paul Ryan also suggested a fix might be needed. And White House spokesman Josh Earnest took note of the shift.

  • JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:

    I think what we have seen in the United States Congress is a pretty classic case of rapid-onset buyer's remorse.

    If there are members of Congress that have had a change of heart, are now prepared to take a principled position, we would welcome a conversation about that. We would welcome action to solve the problem that they have created.


    President Obama has warned that the new law could lead to retaliation against Americans abroad.


    The United States is on the verge of ending its Syrian talks with Russia because of the assault on Aleppo that from Secretary of State John Kerry today. At a Washington event, he said diplomacy can't continue in the face of an all-out Russian- Syrian offensive.

    JOHN KERRY, U.S. Secretary of State: It's irrational in the context of the kind of bombing taking place to be sitting there trying to take things seriously. There's no notion or indication of a seriousness of purpose with what is taking place right now.


    Earlier, Russia brushed aside Washington's warnings. But the defense minister suggested a possible 48-hour truce to let humanitarian aid into Aleppo.


    American Olympic and Paralympic athletes had their White House moment today. The president hailed their success at this summer's Games in Rio de Janeiro, winning 46 Olympic gold medals and 40 Paralympic golds.


    It inspires us to do what we do much harder. We admire your athleticism but we also admire your character and your stick-to-itiveness. We know you don't do this for the money or the fame.



    Mr. Obama also hosted families of African-American Olympians from the 1936 Games. Those athletes were left out of a White House welcome 80 years ago.


    Stocks fells sharply on Wall Street today, as drug companies and banks suffered major losses. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 196 points to close at 18143. The Nasdaq fell 49 points, and the S&P 500 lost 20.


    And Congress hopes to help parents who need to change babies' diapers in federal buildings. A bill sent to the president today requires changing stations be installed in men's and women's restrooms in all federal sites open to the public. That includes courthouses, post offices and some government-run museums.

    It's about time.


    It is.

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