News Wrap: Senate votes to prevent railroad strike but rejects granting more paid leave

In our news wrap Thursday, a bill to prevent a railroad strike is headed to President Biden after it passed the Senate, but Senators rejected a separate measure to grant seven days of paid sick leave to workers, the Supreme Court will rule if the Biden administration's plan for student debt forgiveness is constitutional and more cities in China loosened COVID restrictions after mass protests.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A bill to block a threatened railroad strike is headed to President Biden for his signature. The U.S. Senate gave final approval today to imposing a settlement on freight railroads and labor unions.

    The five-year deal includes 24 percent pay raises. It passed 80-15. Senators rejected a separate measure to grant seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers.

    The U.S. Supreme Court says that the Biden administration's plan for sweeping student debt forgiveness will stay on hold for now. Instead, the court agreed today to rule on whether the program is constitutional by early next summer. In the meantime, a presidential pause on loan repayments will continue.

    And a U.S. federal appeals court has halted a special master's review of classified documents that the FBI took from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. It marked a victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for it to use all the records seized in the August search for its criminal investigation.

    President Biden welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House today amid antagonism over a newly minted climate law. The French leader had charged that subsidies for American-made electric vehicles and other technology will hurt European companies.

    But, at a joint news conference, Mr. Biden said that was never the bill's intention. And he offered reassurance.

    Joe Biden, President of the United States: There's obviously going to be glitches in it and need to reconcile changes in it. But the essence of it is, we are going to make sure that the United States continues, and just as I hope Europe will be able to continue, not to have to rely on anybody else's supply chain.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Biden also said that he is willing to speak with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, if Putin shows an interest in ending his war in Ukraine.

    More cities across China loosen COVID-19 restrictions today after mass protests last weekend. In the south, traffic flowed again in the city of Guangzhou, as workers took down road blocks and dismantled outdoor testing sites. Reuters reported Chinese authorities plan to allow some — or, rather, to allow home isolation and to reduce mass testing.

    The United Nations is appealing for a record $51.5 billion in humanitarian aid for 2023. Now, that is up 25 percent from this year. The world body estimated today that nearly 340 million people worldwide will need help. That's roughly the population of the United States.

  • Martin Griffiths, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator:

    The needs are going up because we have been smitten by the war in Ukraine, by COVID, by climate. And I fear that 2023 is going to be an acceleration of all those trends.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.N.'s aid appeal is more than five times the amount it needed just a decade ago.

    Back in this country, closing arguments began in New York in the criminal tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization. Defense lawyers told the jury that a longtime finance chief, and not the company, was to blame for executives evading taxes on company perks. Prosecutors rejected that claim and said the company is still liable. Jury deliberations are expected to begin next week.

    A top financial regulator pressed Congress today for stronger oversight of cryptocurrency, now that the FTX exchange has collapsed. Rostin Behnam chairs the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He urged senators to act soon on a bill establishing a regulatory framework.

  • Rostin Behnam, Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission:

    Strengthening the bill and filling the gaps is one thing. We need to move forward as soon as possible. We don't want this to happen again in the next few months and have the risk of customers losing money because of these gaps.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is also pushing to be the prime regulator of crypto.

    On Wall Street, stocks came back to earth after yesterday's big rally. The Dow Jones industrial average last 194 points to close at 34395. The Nasdaq rose 14 points. The S&P 500 slipped three.

    And Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry died today at his home in South Carolina. He played from 1962 to 1983 and was the first to win a Cy Young Award as outstanding pitcher in both leagues. For years, Perry befuddled opponents and umpires with his spit ball, doctored was saliva or another substance. He later said he would touch his head or jersey just to get hitters worried. Gaylord Perry was 84 years old.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": former President Obama tries to give Senator Warnock a boost in Georgia's run-off; Turkey complicates the fight against ISIS with attacks against Kurdish military bases; the mayor of New York City orders some homeless people to be involuntarily hospitalized; plus much more.

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