News Wrap: House GOP vote to block Obama immigration action

In our news wrap Wednesday, House Republicans challenged President Obama’s executive actions protecting millions from deportation by voting for a broader bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Also, Kremlin officials warned of cuts on government spending and double-digit inflation.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Worries about the world economy weighed on Wall Street today. The World Bank cut its global growth forecast, and the price of copper, a bellwether commodity, dropped sharply.

    That sent the Dow Jones industrial average falling 186 points to close at 17427. It had been down nearly twice that much, earlier; the Nasdaq dropped 22 to close at 4639; and the S&P 500 slipped 11 to finish at 2011.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Kremlin officials warned today of budget cuts and double-digit inflation in Russia's worst slowdown in 15 years. The finance minister called for cutting 10 percent of government spending, excluding defense. A few weeks back, Russian President Vladimir Putin had insisted state spending wouldn't be touched.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. House of Representatives challenged President Obama on two fronts today. Majority Republicans voted to block his executive actions protecting millions of people from deportation. It's part of a broader bill funding the Department of Homeland Security.

    Speaker John Boehner said the president's orders, in 2012 and last year, violated the law.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: Enough is enough. By their votes last November, the people made clear that they wanted more accountability from this president. And by our votes here today, we will heed their will and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It is unclear whether the bill can get the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. But House Democrats, including Representative Steve Israel of New York, charged Republicans are interested only in scoring points with supporters.

    REP. STEVE ISRAEL, (D) New York: We have a bill that shouldn't be controversial, that should fund our homeland security, but has been turned into a divisive political strategy on immigration.

    Madam Speaker, let's face it. This bill is not about homeland security. This bill is about Republican political security.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The House also voted to ease requirements on big banks under the landmark Dodd-Frank law. It was adopted after the 2008 financial crisis. President Obama has threatened to veto both the banking and the immigration measures.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The FBI arrested an Ohio man today on charges of plotting to bomb the U.S. Capitol. Court documents say federal agents began watching Christopher Cornell after he expressed support for Islamic State militants and tweeted about jihad. He allegedly planned to set off pipe bombs, and then open fire on lawmakers and staffers.

    Search teams near Indonesia have found the fuselage of the AirAsia passenger jet that crashed into the Java Sea last month. Photos taken by an underwater robot showed the main section of the plane today lying on the sea floor with part of one wing still attached. Officials believe many of the victims are still entombed in the fuselage.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The International Space Station had a scare today when alarms signaled a toxic ammonia leak on the U.S. side. It turned out to be a false alarm. But the crew, two Americans, three Russians, and one Italian, moved into the Russian side for much of the day.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister are making a new bid for progress on curbing Iran's nuclear program. Kerry met with Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, ahead of broader talks tomorrow involving other nations.

    Going in, Zarif expressed hope, but he also put the onus on the U.S. and its partners.

  • MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, Foreign Minister, Iran (through interpreter):

    We have reached a stage that it is necessary for the other side to make its decisions so that we could move forward. In our opinion, reaching a deal is completely possible, but a political decision and will is needed.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Zarif and Kerry met for five hours, then held a second unscheduled session late at night. Negotiators failed to make an earlier deadline, and are now trying to get a framework deal by March 1.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    A Washington Post reporter in Iran now faces trial there on unspecified charges. The Iranian state news agency reported today that Jason Rezaian has been indicted. He holds dual American-Iranian citizenship, and he has been held since July. It's unclear when the trial will begin.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    There was a glimmer of hope today in West Africa. The World Health Organization reported Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had fewer new cases last week than any time since last summer. At the same time, the death toll topped 8,400.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    There's word that hundreds of boat people seeking asylum in Australia have gone on a hunger strike in Papua New Guinea. They're being held there at an Australian-run detention center on Manus Island, and they have been attacked by locals who want them gone. The refugees say they have stopped eating in protest, and Reuters reports that some even sewed their mouths shut.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Back in this country, new questions swirled today about police and deadly force. Two officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, killed a suspect yesterday, saying he had fired on them first. A day earlier, two other law enforcement officers were charged with murder arising from a 2014 shooting there. And in New York, the Associated Press reported jail guards used force more often than ever last year. There were nearly 800 more incidents than in 2013.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    President Obama pushed today to get rid of state laws that block high-speed Internet access. He called for the Federal Communications Commission to preempt any statutes that bar communities from developing their own broadband networks.

    The president spoke in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which does have such a network.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    I believe that a community has the right to makes its own choice, and to provide its own broadband if it wants to. Nobody is going to force you to do it, but if you want to do it, if the community decides this is something that we want to do to give ourselves a competitive edge and to help our young people and our businesses, they should be able to do it.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president said his administration will give technical and financial aid to towns and cities that want to improve Internet access.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    There has been a new shakeup at the Secret Service, after an embarrassing string of lapses in presidential security. The Washington Post reports four senior officials are being removed and a fifth has decided to retire. The agency's director resigned in October.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And the state of California announced the nation's strictest limits on a widely used pesticide. The chemical is injected into the soil before planting strawberries, tomatoes, and other crops. State officials say that it also causes eye irritation, coughing fits and headaches. The new rule will mean higher prices on the affected produce.

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