News Wrap: House opens debate on bill to lower prescription drug costs

News Wrap: House opens debate on bill to lower prescription drug costs


In the day’s other news: Democrats in the
U.S. House of Representatives begin work this evening on approving two articles of impeachment
against President Trump. The Judiciary Committee will consider two
separate accusations of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. Committee votes could come tomorrow, sending
the articles to the full House for possible action next week. A sweeping defense policy bill passed the
House this evening and headed to the Senate. It authorizes nearly $74 billion for the fiscal
year that began two months ago. Major provisions include a 3 percent military
pay raise, creation of a Space Force, and paid parental leave for federal workers. The House also opened debate on a Democratic
bill aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs. It calls for the government to directly negotiate
prices of at least 50 medicines a year. Democratic leaders agreed to that number after
party progressives demanded that it be increased from 35. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed today
for support across party lines. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The burden touches every
family, hurting not only their health, but their financial health. There is every reason in the world for Republicans
to join us to pass this bill. Even the president has supported this key
— these key provisions. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the Senate, Republican Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will not bring the bill up for a vote. The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a
federal judge’s ruling that bars using Pentagon funds for a southern border wall. The judge in Texas blocked $3.6 billion in
military construction money from being diverted, unless Congress approves it. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed other Pentagon
funds to be spent on the wall, pending a legal challenge. New disclosures tonight about the deadly crashes
of Boeing 737 MAX jets. It turns out the Federal Aviation Administration
had predicted up to 15 more crashes unless flight control software was fixed. That was after the first crash in Indonesia
last year. The FAA didn’t ground the planes until a second
crash last March in Ethiopia. At a House hearing today, the agency’s new
head, Stephen Dickson, declined to place blame. STEPHEN DICKSON, Administrator, Federal Aviation
Administration: There was information out there, but it was difficult to put the whole
picture together to make a sound decision. That’s absolutely something that we need to
address going forward. JUDY WOODRUFF: A retired Boeing production
manager testified today that the company put production speed over safety. In New Zealand, two more people died of injuries
from a volcanic eruption that caught tourists by surprise. The overall death toll is now 16. The volcano, on White Island, has continued
to spurt steam, mud and ash since Monday’s eruption; 28 people remain hospitalized, most
of them badly burned. Thousands of people marched in Algeria’s capital
today, calling for a boycott of tomorrow’s presidential election. The crowds chanted as security forces struggled
to block them. They demanded that the ruling elite quit and
the military get out of politics. Longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was
ousted in April. All five candidates running tomorrow are linked
to him. A United Nations report finds that protesters
in Iraq are facing abduction, arbitrary detention and outright murder. The report comes amid a string of targeted
assassinations and arrests of civil activists and journalists. Just today, 31 more protesters were wounded
by security forces in Central Baghdad. Back in this country, the Federal Reserve
left its benchmark interest rate unchanged today. And it indicated there might be no changes
through next year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that he sees
little risk that low rates will lead to an overheated economy. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: We
can sustain much lower levels of unemployment than had been thought. And, as I mentioned, that’s a good thing,
because that means we don’t have to worry so much about inflation. And you see the benefits of that in today’s
labor market. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Fed raised rates four times
last year, before cutting them three times this year. The Fed decision left Wall Street mostly unmoved. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 29
points to close at 27911. The Nasdaq rose 37 points, and the S&P 500
added nine. Meanwhile, stock in the state-owned oil giant
Saudi Aramco went public on the Saudi exchange, and it jumped 10 percent. That made it the world’s most valuable publicly
traded company, passing Apple. And there’s word that Hollywood producer Harvey
Weinstein and his movie studio will settle allegations of sexual misconduct. The New York Times reports that $25 million
would be divided among dozens of accusers. Weinstein still faces criminal charges of
rape and sexual assault. Today, a judge in New York increased his bail
fivefold, to $5 million, for leaving his ankle monitor deactivated. And 25 films, spanning 100 years, are this
year’s additions to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. They go all the way back to a 1903 film, emigrants
landing at Ellis Island. Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War story “Platoon”
is also on the list. So are the Disney classics “Old Yeller” and
“Sleeping Beauty.” Still to come on the “NewsHour”: further analysis
of the Justice Department’s findings on the Russia investigation; the deadly shooting
in Jersey City a day later, what we know about the attack; a Nobel Peace Prize winner, The
Hague, and charges of genocide — Myanmar on trial; plus, much more.

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