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News Wrap: House approves $36 billion for U.S. disaster relief

In our news wrap Thursday, the House passed a $36 billion relief bill for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires. More than half of the funding will go to FEMA, including up to $5 billion to aid Puerto Rico. Also, the Justice Department singled out five jurisdictions, including Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, for allegedly giving "sanctuary" to undocumented immigrants.

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    In the day's other news: The House of Representatives has passed a $36 billion relief bill for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires. More than half that funding goes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including up to $5 billion to help Puerto Rico.

    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: We have got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy, so that it can be self-sufficient, but at the moment — and it's why I'm there tomorrow — at the moment, there's a humanitarian crisis that has to be attended to.

  • REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., House Minority Leader:

    What we're talking about now is emergency relief. There's going to have to be relief right now. There's going to have to be recovery. And that's a whole other, shall we say, budget.


    The bill also earmarks about $16 billion to cover flood insurance claims in Texas and Florida. And nearly $600 million will go toward fighting wildfires.

    President Trump signed an executive order today aimed at promoting greater choice in health insurance plans. It lets small businesses form associations to offer scaled-back plans at lower costs. They'd be exempt from Obamacare requirements to cover so-called essential benefits.

    We will report on this in detail later in the program.

    The president has formally nominated White House official Kirstjen Nielsen to be his new secretary of homeland security. She'd worked for then-Secretary John Kelly and moved to the White House with him when he became chief of staff.

    Mr. Trump introduced Nielsen today, and praised her experience. He said there will be no on-the-job training for her.

    The U.S. Justice Department today singled out five jurisdictions around the country for allegedly giving sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. The city of Chicago and surrounding Cook County, Illinois, plus New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, now face an October 27 deadline.

    They have to show they're cooperating with immigration officials, or they risk losing federal grants.

    The U.S. and Pakistan today announced the release of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children. They'd been held five years by the militant Haqqani Network, linked to the Taliban. Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle were shown in two hostage videos after being captured in Afghanistan in 2012.

    Relatives learned of their release today in Ontario, Canada.

    LINDA BOYLE, Mother of Released Hostage: We were told the wonderful news that our family had been rescued. And then, 20 minutes later, we were allowed to actually talk with Josh. That's the first time in five years we got to hear his voice. It was amazing.


    Details on how the family was freed were not immediately available. But President Trump said it shows many countries are starting to respect the United States again.

    Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced a new attempt today to heal a 10-year breach. Hamas agreed to return control of Gaza to Fatah by December 1. Fatah already controls the West Bank. The agreement was brokered by Egypt and it was signed in Cairo. It also calls for reopening a key border crossing with Egypt.

    The United States is formally withdrawing from the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO. The State Department says that the decision take effect at the end of next year. Washington halted funding for UNESCO in 2011 after it voted to recognize Palestine as a member state.

    Experimental gene therapy to treat a rare form of blindness moved a big step closer to federal approval today. Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended the approach. It improves vision in patients who go legally blind because of defective genes. The FDA has until mid-January to make its decision.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 32 points to close at 22841. The Nasdaq fell 12, and the S&P 500 slipped four.

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