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News Wrap: Senate sends $36.5 billion disaster bill to Trump

In our news wrap Tuesday, the Senate sent President Trump a disaster bill worth $36.5 billion that includes funding for Puerto Rico and other areas ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires, flood insurance claims and FEMA. Also, the Government Accountability Office reports climate change has forced more than $350 billion in federal spending to deal with major storms over the last decade.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And in the day’s other news: President Trump touted the benefits of the tax reform that he is pushing Congress to adopt. He said it is going to bring $4 trillion back into the country.

    But Republicans and Democrats disagreed sharply over what the real effects would be.

  • Sen. John Thune, R-s.d.:

    What the tax plan that we are putting forward does is, it lowers rates on middle-income families, it doubles the standard deduction, it removes a number of Americans from even having tax liability at all by doubling the standard deduction, and it also expands the child tax credit to make it easier for families to afford the cost of raising children in this country.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-n.y., Minority Leader:

    The chasm between what they say the bill does, just the people talking here and the president, and what the bill actually looks like it’s going to be from the outlines are just light years apart. It’s appalling. It’s not what you see in a democracy, such deviation from the truth.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The House of Representatives is set to give final congressional approval tomorrow to a budget plan that sets the stage for the tax overhaul.

    The Senate today approved and sent the president a disaster aid bill worth nearly $36.5 billion. It includes money for Puerto Rico and other areas ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires. There’s also funding for flood insurance claims and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    A U.S. watchdog agency says that climate change has led to billions of dollars in federal spending to deal with major storms. The Government Accountability Office reports that disaster aid and insurance cost more than $350 billion over the past decade. Now, that doesn’t include this year’s hurricanes and the California wildfires.

    In China, the ruling Communist Party enshrined Xi Jinping today as the nation’s most powerful ruler in decades. The Party Congress in Beijing elevated Xi to the same rank as Mao Zedong, founder of the Chinese communist state. Xi called for total devotion to creating a modern powerful China by mid-century.

  • President Xi Jinping:

    (Through interpreter) The whole party should closely unite around the party central committee, uphold the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, persist in reform and innovation, work hard and lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to strive for the goals set by the 19th National Congress.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Xi has crusaded against official corruption during his first five years in power. More than one million officials have been investigated.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is urging Pakistan to drive out Taliban militants and other extremists. He carried that appeal to a meeting today with Pakistan’s prime minister and army chief in Islamabad. A day earlier, he had made surprise stops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Russia today blocked the United Nations from continuing a chemical weapons investigation in Syria. The Russians used their Security Council veto and criticized how the probe is being conducted. The U.S. charged that Moscow is covering for its Syrian allies.

  • Michele J. Sison:

    These attacks are not intended to get us closer to the truth. They are intended to hide the truth. They are not designed to get us closer to accountability for chemical weapons use in Syria. They are designed to shield the perpetrators for some of the worst war crimes of our century.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A chemical attack in Syria last April killed more than 90 people. The U.S. blamed Damascus and it struck a Syrian air base with cruise missiles in retaliation.

    The leader of the European Union is calling for measures to curb the flow of migrants. E.U. Council President Donald Tusk addressed the European Parliament today. He said: “We are a cultural community. Our openness and tolerance cannot mean walking away from protecting our heritage.”

    Recent elections across Europe have shown rising support for anti-migrant policy.

    Back in this country, President Trump’s ban on admitting all refugees ended today, four months after he imposed it. This evening, the administration announced tougher screening rules. The ban’s expiration had prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss a court challenge to the policy.

    A 17-year-old immigrant who entered the country illegally has now won an important round in her fight for an abortion. The full federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., found in her favor today. It ordered an expedited timeline set for the procedure. The girl is in federal custody in Texas, but the Trump administration contends that it is not obliged to facilitate an abortion.

    And on Wall Street today, an industrial rally, from Caterpillar to 3M, fueled a broader market surge. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 168 points, more than half-a-percent, to close at a record 23,441. The Nasdaq rose 11, and the S&P 500 added four.

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