In our news wrap Thursday, the House approved one of President Trump’s top priorities: the USMCA trade deal, which modernizes the existing NAFTA and won overwhelming bipartisan support, plus the backing of labor unions and business. Also, the Senate moved to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year -- and avoid a partial shutdown. The package now goes to Trump for his signature.
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In the day's other news: The House approved one of President Trump's top priorities less than 24 hours after impeaching him.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement modernizes NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It won overwhelming bipartisan support, plus the backing of labor unions and business.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass.:
Trade agreements can achieve broad bipartisan support if they empower workers, protect patients, provide access to affordable health care and improve our shared environment. I'm proud of what we did here, 14 months of negotiating.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas:
It's not a perfect agreement. No trade agreements are. And we will continue to work to improve the areas that we think can be in future agreements. But, in any event, American workers have a major victory in USMCA. And I'm proud to support it.
The Republican-led Senate is expected to take up the trade agreement next year.
Today, the Senate moved to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, and avert a partial shutdown this weekend. The package totals some $1.4 trillion, with major increases for both domestic and defense programs. It also includes another $1.4 billion for a southern border wall. The package already passed the House and now goes to President Trump for his signature.
One of President Trump's biggest allies in the Congress, Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, said today he won't run for reelection. Instead, he said he's open to taking a job in the Trump campaign or in the White House. Meadows helped found the conservative Freedom Caucus. He is the 25th House Republican to say he is not seeking another term.
In Britain, Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new majority in Parliament laid out their agenda, headlined by leaving the European Union on January 31. Lawmakers gathered in the House of Lords for Parliament's official opening and the queen's speech, which spells out the government's priorities.
Later, Johnson spoke in the House of Commons, and said that British people expect action.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
If there was one resounding lesson of this election campaign, one message I heard in every corner of these islands, it's not just that the British people want their government to get Brexit done, though they do. They want to move politics on.
The Tory agenda also includes a new immigration system and increased spending on Britain's National Health Service, after 10 years of a funding squeeze.
There is a breakthrough in Lebanon's political stalemate. College Professor Hassan Diab was tapped today to be prime minister, backed by Hezbollah, the Shiite militia allied with Iran. The former education minister arrived at the presidential palace and said he would consult both politicians and protest leaders to form a new government.
Protesters are demanding that political elites give way and enact economic reforms.
Police across India detained more than 1,200 protesters today, after a ban on demonstrations against a new citizenship law. At least three people died in the protests. The police crackdown intensified as thousands took to the streets. They are protesting a law that favors non-Muslim migrants, saying it's part of a push to make India a Hindu state.
A plague of wildfires in Australia shows no sign of ending. Scores of fires were burning today, putting new pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act on climate change as he vacationed in Hawaii.
Alex Thomson of Independent Television News reports.
The Fire Service said, we can't put them out. And they haven't, six weeks now, and record temperatures across Australia twice in the past week. Two more people killed today. That's eight now. Close on a thousand homes destroyed, and we are barely into the fire season.
New South Wales will be in a state of emergency from today for the next seven days.
The Australian government insists Mr. Morrison is receiving hourly updates on the fire crisis, and his deputy is in place handling the situation.
In the east, hectares turn to ash hour by hour. In the interior now, indigenous leaders in Australia say their ancient homelands are becoming uninhabitable.
We want to be listened to. We want a future.
Our bushfire season is creeping into spring and winter. We are living in a dangerous climate, and it is time for our prime minister to get out of the pocket of the coal and gas lobby groups and to start thinking about the future of Australians.
Australian fire chiefs want a summit with the prime minister to address the climate emergency. He's declined to meet.
Sydney wreathed today in bushfire smog. The economic cost for Australia mounts daily.
That report from Alex Thomson of Independent Television News.
In this country, the Pentagon said today it finished a review of Saudi Arabian military trainees in the United States and found no additional threats. Nearly two weeks ago, a Saudi officer killed three American sailors at the Naval air station in Pensacola, Florida. Some 850 other Saudis have been grounded ever since, pending the security review.
Prosecutors in California have finished reviewing a spate of horse fatalities at Santa Anita Race Track. They found no evidence of animal cruelty or other crimes. In all, 49 horses died at Santa Anita in the 12 months ending last June. The report says that was more than the national average, but fewer than in some other recent years.
General Motors is recalling more than 900,000 pickup trucks and cars, nearly all of them in the United States. It involves problems with brakes and battery cables. The affected vehicles are Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras from the last two model years, plus Cadillac CT6 sedans from 2019.
And on Wall Street, upbeat earnings reports pushed stocks higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 137 points to close near 28377. The Nasdaq rose 59 points, and the S&P 500 added 14.