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News Wrap: GOP write-in for Alabama Senate race ‘under discussion,’ says McConnell

In our news wrap Tuesday, Roy Moore is refusing to drop out of a Senate special election in Alabama despite pressure from top Republicans. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be up to the people of that state, but that alternatives are under discussion. Also, Senate Republicans will try again to repeal the individual insurance mandate by including a provision in their tax reform package.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Top Republicans ratcheted up pressure again today on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

    The former judge denied multiple allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse against teenage girls, and he is refusing to drop out of a December special election.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeated today that Moore is not fit to serve, but he said replacing him is complicated.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell:

    It's up to the people of Alabama to make this decision. I think they have a lot of information now, in making a decision. Obviously, from a Republican point of view, we would hope to save the seat. And that might require a write-in, and all of those things are under discussion.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The December election is to fill out the term of former Senator Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. attorney general. Sessions said today that he has — quote — "no reason to doubt Moore's accusers."

    He spoke at a wide-ranging hearing, and we will hear more on that right after the news summary.

    Senate Republicans will try again to repeal the individual health insurance mandate under Obamacare. This time, they are including it in their tax reform package.

    Lisa Desjardins is at the Capitol.

    Hello, Lisa. What are the Republicans doing?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's right.

    Senate Republicans tell us that tonight they're adding to that sweeping tax reform bill nothing less than the full and immediate repeal of the individual mandate in Obamacare. What is more, Judy, they tell us they that have majority support from their Republican Congress to do it.

    Of course, this is one step in a long process on tax reform, but it's a big one, because this is a cornerstone bill for Senate Republicans.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, is it known how this is going to affect the prospects for tax reform?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    It gets even more complicated.

    I have just talked to a House Republican who says now they will try to add the individual mandate, a conservative, to their version on the House side. It is something that they think might win over some conservative votes. Of course, Democrats already say they think it's a terrible idea.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Lisa, prospects beyond that, I mean, as you get to the other chamber?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes, that's right. This is sort of four-dimensional chess now. We're expecting a House vote on Thursday now. There may be some changes to their bill then. And then the Senate's turn comes up in about two weeks.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All right. Lisa Desjardins at the Capitol, thank you.

    In Iran today, rescuers kept digging, as the earthquake death toll rose to at least 530. More than 7,800 were injured in Sunday night's tremor that struck near the border between Iran and Iraq. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani surveyed the damage today, and vowed to investigate why so much government housing collapsed. It was built during the administration of his hard-line predecessor.

    Rescue workers in Syria are still looking for victims after airstrikes on Monday on a northern town held by rebels. Activists say that at least 61 people were killed when three strikes hit a busy market. Nearly all of the dead were civilians. It is not clear whether Russian or Syrian planes were involved.

    President Trump headed back to Washington today, after a 10-day tour of Asia. Before leaving the Philippines, he hailed the trip as tremendously successful. On board Air Force One, he said other countries are getting his message.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Over a period of years, they will be treating us much differently than they have in the past. People were taking advantage, countries were taking advantage of the United States, more than just this region, but the world. And those days are over.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president also promised what he called a major statement about the trip later this week.

    At least five people are dead in a series of shootings in rural Northern California. A gunman killed four today, and wounded several more, including three children, before being shot dead by police. It happened around the city of Red Bluff. Authorities say it started with a domestic violence incident, and then the shooter went to a school, and other locations, apparently at random.

    A trial opened in Las Vegas today for a rancher accused of leading a standoff with federal agents. Cliven Bundy, two sons and a co-defendant face 15 felony charges each. Prosecutors say they tried to spark a range war in 2014 over attempts to stop their cattle grazing on public land.

    In economic news, a study by Credit Suisse finds millennials are struggling to make as much money as their baby boomer parents. The Swiss bank also says that they face greater wealth inequality than previous generations. It cites higher home prices and student debt burdens.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 30 points to close at 23,409. The Nasdaq fell 19, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly six.

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