In our Wednesday news wrap, the debate over health care is reigniting, as President Trump declares his support for a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and intent to replace it with “a plan that is far better.” Meanwhile, Trump demanded that Russian troops who arrived in Venezuela over the weekend leave immediately, with “all options” on the table if they don’t.
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Battle lines are being drawn in Washington in a renewed battle over health care.
President Trump underscored today that his administration will back a court fight to kill Obamacare. He spoke as he met with the wife of Venezuela's opposition leader, and he lauded a legal challenge by states to the Affordable Care Act.
We think it will be upheld. And we think it will do very well in the Supreme Court. And if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out, we will have a plan that is far better than Obamacare.
Last December, a federal judge in Texas ruled in that lawsuit, and invalidated the entire ACA. This week, the Trump Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to uphold that ruling.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed back today, speaking on the Senate floor.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:
If the Republican Party wants to be, in Donald Trump's words, the party of health care, God help the middle class. God save the middle class. God save people with disabilities. God save the hundreds of millions with preexisting conditions.
Senate Democrats are now trying to bar the Justice Department from helping to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
President Trump demanded today that Russian troops leave Venezuela, and he said — quote — "All options are open if they don't." Some 100 Russian soldiers arrived in Venezuela over the weekend. Moscow backs President Nicolas Maduro's regime. The U.S. supports the opposition leader's claim to power.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will step down from her post early if Parliament approves her Brexit plan for leaving the European union. She gave no specific date. Lawmakers have twice now rejected May's plan. We will get the details later in the program.
In Mozambique, the first cases of cholera were confirmed today, after a tropical cyclone ravaged the country. Authorities reported five cases in the port city of Beira, which was all but leveled by the storm. Emergency responders quickly began efforts to contain the deadly disease, which spreads through contaminated water and food.
A Mozambican health official warned the country should brace for much worse.
When you have one case, you have to expect that you will have more cases in the community. Therefore, the health workers are there in the communities, work in the communities, how to organize them, how to prevent, how to treat water and everything to prevent the spread of the cholera.
The World Health Organization has warned of a second disaster if a cholera outbreak spreads.
Back in this country, a neo-Nazi supporter, James Fields, pled guilty today to federal hate crimes in a deadly car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. It happened at a white nationalist rally in 2017. Fields killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens when he drove his car into counterprotesters. A state court already has convicted him of murder.
The Pittsburgh City Council voted today for new gun control measures, including curbs on military-style assault weapons. The move follows last year's massacre of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue. The bills are set for a final vote next week, but gun rights supporters say that they will challenge the measures in court.
The head of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is warning that a surge of migrants has pushed the agency to its breaking point. Kevin McAleenan confirmed today that 750 agents are being reassigned in order to deal with the influx. He said he's hoping to prevent new tragedies.
With these numbers, with the types of illnesses we're seeing at the border, I fear that it's just a matter of time. Continued inaction by Congress is going to continue to put people at risk, the vulnerable migrants on the journey in Mexico, as they cross our border in increasingly hot weather, and our own personnel.
The agency says that it detained 3,700 migrants on Monday alone. That is the highest one-day total in a decade.
A federal judge in Washington has blocked work requirements for Medicaid recipients in Arkansas and Kentucky. The joint federal-state program provides health care for the poor. The judge found today that work requirements pose obstacles to receiving care, and that officials have not addressed that problem.
The U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos, today defended her call to end federal funding for the Special Olympics. She said the organization gets major private support, and that other programs need federal money more. DeVos sought the same cut for the past two years, without success. This time, it has sparked a storm on social media and from congressional Democrats.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 32 points to close at 25625. The Nasdaq fell 48 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 13.
And the search is on for the grave of Anne Bradstreet, the first published poet in North America. She became a sensation with a 1650 book of poetry, but her burial site was lost to history. Professors and students at Merrimack College in Massachusetts hope to find it in nearby North Andover, and to help to restore Bradstreet's place in American literature.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": lingering questions still surround the Boeing crash in Ethiopia; the policy agenda now that the Mueller investigation is over; a surprising plan to combat climate change; and much more.