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News Wrap: White House backs off plan to slash billions in foreign aid

In our Thursday news wrap, it is being widely reported that the White House has backed off a plan to slash more than $4 billion in foreign aid. The cuts would have included humanitarian relief, peacekeeping and global health initiatives. Also, government airstrikes in northern Syria targeted Turkish forces for the second time this week, raising the risk of open conflict between the two countries.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    There is word the White House has backed off a plan to slash more than $4 billion in U.S. foreign aid. The about-face is being widely reported tonight.

    The cuts would have included humanitarian relief, peacekeeping and global health initiatives, among other areas. But lawmakers and some top Trump administration officials warned that they could harm national security and jeopardize budget negotiations.

    The Democratic presidential candidate field is smaller by one tonight and there are reports that the Republican field might grow by one. John Yang has our campaign 2020 roundup.

  • Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.:

    I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race.

  • John Yang:

    Washington State Governor Jay Inslee becomes the third Democrat to drop out of the 2020 presidential campaign, deciding instead to seek a third term as governor.

    Inslee made fighting climate change his signature campaign issue, and encouraged other 2020 hopefuls to adopt his far-reaching policies.

    Today, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his own plan. The Sanders Green New Deal declares a climate crisis, and calls for 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030, creating 20 million union jobs to combat climate change, and rejoining the Paris climate accord.

    The Sanders campaign estimates the cost at $16.3 trillion, and says it will pay for itself in 15 years. Meanwhile, in Colorado:

  • John Hickenlooper:

    I have always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me, who wants to get things done. But this is no time to walk away from the table.

  • John Yang:

    Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who ended his own presidential campaign last week, today announced he's running for Senate, becoming the 14th Democrat vying to take on GOP Senator Cory Gardner.

    But as the Democratic presidential field winnows down, the Republican side could grow.Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois says he is exploring a long-shot primary challenge against President Trump, whose support among Republicans in polls is as high as 90 percent.

    The one-term Tea Party lawmaker and now talk radio host supported Mr. Trump in 2016, but has now become a frequent and loud critic.

  • Joe Walsh:

    He's a horrible human being. He's a bad, bad guy. And every single day, every single day you, I and everybody watching us is reminded of how damn unfit he is.

  • John Yang:

    Walsh would join former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld in the GOP primary.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In northwestern Syria, government airstrikes targeted Turkish forces for a second time this week, raising the risk of open conflict between them. The attacks sent smoke rising near a Turkish outpost in Idlib province, but there were no reports of casualties.

    It came as Turkey sent a convoy of reinforcements into Idlib. The Turks back rebels in the province. The Syrians are trying to retake the region.

    High school students in Hong Kong have joined the call for political reforms. Hundreds of young demonstrators held a sit-in in a downtown square today. They carried signs and chanted anti-government slogans. At the same time, university students called for boycotting the start of classes in September.

    The president of Brazil conceded today his government lacks the resources to fight raging wildfires. The fires in the Amazon rain forest have increased more than 80 percent this year, but President Jair Bolsonaro had initially declined outside help.

    Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called for this weekend's G7 summit to treat the fires as an international emergency.

    Back in this country, the White House signal that they could propose a tax cut during next year's presidential campaign. President Trump had said on Wednesday that there's no need for a payroll tax cut now to ward off recession.

    But, today, economic adviser Larry Kudlow spoke officials are looking down the road.

  • Larry Kudlow:

    The long-range project to help the long-run growth of economy, to provide additional tax relief to middle-income people, blue-collar people, small business and so forth. That's a long-run project. And it probably will come out during the campaign.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In a separate interview, Kudlow said — quote — "We don't believe in the recession talk."

    A panel of judges in North Carolina today cleared a mentally ill man of killing a college student 40 years ago. James Blackmon is now 66. He goes free after spending most of his life in prison. Blackmon wore a Superman-type cape and claimed that he was like Dracula during police interviews in the late 1970s. Prosecutors used his confession anyway.

    The nation's biggest phone companies are pledging today to crack down on robo-calls. It is part of an agreement brokered with all 50 states. The companies said today that they will offer free tools for consumers to block the unwanted calls. But they gave no timetable. Americans get an estimated five billion robo-calls every month.

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 49 points to close at 26252. The Nasdaq fell nearly 29 points, and the S&P 500 dropped one point.

    And basketball legend Bob Cousy received the nation's highest civilian honor today, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cousy is now 91. He won six NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and was also known for speaking out against racism and for his black teammates.

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