Speaker Pelosi disinvites president from State of the Union » President Trump is postponing his State of the Union address until after the partial government shutdown ends.
He made that announcement last night after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disinvited him from giving the address in the House chamber next week.
PELOSI: Because government is closed. We have said very clearly from the start, and I wrote him a second time to say since government is shut down, we do not — let’s work together on a mutually agreeable date.
Pelosi made those comments after the president accepted her initial invitation to deliver the address in the House chamber.
Pelosi said when she extended the customary invitation, she thought the government would be fully open by now. Since that’s not the case, she said the House would not approve the resolution required to allow the president to address a joint session of Congress.
President Trump told reporters Wednesday…
TRUMP: Very sad. I think it’s a very, very bad thing for our country, and it’s a horrible precedent.
White House officials were reportedly considering other venues, including the Senate chamber. But the president ultimately said “no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”
Meantime, lawmakers in the Senate today are still expected to take up competing proposals to reopen the government.
FBI and IRS employees say shutdown impacting operations » An organization that represents some 14,000 active and former FBI special agents says the shutdown is making the country less safe.
O’CONNOR: This lack of funding to the FBI is hurting operations. It’s hurting personnel across the board, and it is going to hurt recruitment, and it is going to hurt our retention.
That’s Tom O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association.
And the Washington Post reports the shutdown could have a big impact on operations at the IRS because workers dealing with financial hardship have permission to miss work during the shutdown. That could slow the government’s ability to process taxpayer refunds.
And union leaders say they expect absences at the IRS to increase as part of a coordinated protest.
The government called more than 35,000 IRS employees back to work last week, as tax filing season nears.
Trump administration protects Christian foster agencies » The Department of Health and Human Services just delivered a big win to Christian foster agencies. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: HHS announced on Wednesday that a South Carolina adoption and foster care agency Miracle Hill Ministries can continue to work only with families that share its Christian beliefs.
Miracle Hill was in danger of losing its license after the Obama administration broadened the HHS nondiscrimination rules in 2017 to ban faith-based requirements for foster families.
GOP Governor Henry McMaster appealed to HHS last year on behalf of Miracle Hill for an exception to the nondiscrimination rules. Nearly a year later, the HHS granted relief to Miracle Hill and any other foster care groups that use similar religious criteria to select prospective foster parents.
Lynn Johnson with the HHS Administration for Children and Families said in a statement, “The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
L.A. teachers return to class as Denver walk out » Teachers are back in class in Los Angeles. Educators overwhelmingly approved a new contract after a six-day strike in the nation’s second-largest school district.
Preliminary figures showed a “vast supermajority” of some 30,000 educators voted in favor of the agreement. Officials broadly described the deal as including a 6 percent pay hike and a commitment to reduce class sizes over four years. Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of the United Teachers Los Angeles said special education teachers also won new concessions.
PEARL: They’re going to get two days during the year where they get to just work on compliance issues and issues of staying in communication with parents.
Meantime in Denver, teachers are planning to walk out of class. Educators there voted overwhelmingly to go on strike after more than a year of negotiations over base pay.
GOULD: 93 percent voted to strike. They’re striking for better pay. They’re striking for our profession. And they’re striking for Denver students.
Rob Gould heard there. He is lead negotiator of the Denver Classroom Teacher Association Colorado. School officials have asked the state to intervene, putting the strike on hold for now.
Iowa judge blocks fetal heartbeat law » A state judge struck down a new pro-life law in Iowa on Wednesday. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The “fetal heartbeat” law would have protected unborn babies from abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks.
Judge Michael Huppert called the law unconstitutional. He concluded the Iowa Supreme Court’s previous decisions against pro-life legislation would include the new law. He also cited several cases in federal court.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law in May of last year. She said in a statement Wednesday, “I am incredibly disappointed in today’s court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
U.S. supports Venezuelan uprising » Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself president Wednesday as thousands cheered him on. That as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans poured into the streets to call for socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to step down from power.
AUDIO: [Venezuela protests]
And President Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. officially recognizes Guaidó as interim president.
That came just hours after Vice President Mike Pence posted an online video message to the people of Venezuela.
PENCE: Let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you, the people of Venezuela, raise your voices in a call for freedom.
Maduro responded by announcing that he’s breaking off all diplomatic relations with the U.S. And he called Guaidó and his supporters “terrorists.”