Thursday morning news: February 7, 2019

Lawmakers running out of time to reach government funding compromise » Lawmakers got back to work Wednesday, on the heels of President Trump’s State of the Union address with time running out to forge a compromise on a government funding bill. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president squandered an opportunity in Tuesday’s address to help bring the two parties together.

SCHUMER: The president’s speech was like a 90-minute performance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, calling for comity, but lacing it throughout with invective. 

He said the president is not sincerely interested in working across the aisle.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a different take.

MCCONNELL: Well last night, the president shared a hopeful vision of a bright future for our country. 

He said it is Democrats who must put “the public interest ahead of political spite” and negotiate in good faith. The current funding bill expires on February 15th.

House Democrats block protections for babies who survive abortions » House Republicans moved yesterday to put Democrats on the record on protecting the lives of babies who survive abortions. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday…

MCCARTHY: Today I will ask for unanimous consent for the House to consider Ann Wagner’s Born-Alive Protection Act.

Democratic House leaders blocked the measure. On Monday Democrats blocked a similar bill in the Senate.

President Trump, Sec. Pompeo address anti-ISIS coalition » President Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. and its partners have retaken virtually all ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria. And he said he expects to announce next week that they’ve reclaimed 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate.

TRUMP: Thanks to the global coalition, including all of you here today and to our other partners, the ISIS caliphate has been decimated. 

His remarks came during a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department in Washington. Seated in the room were foreign ministers and senior officials from the 79-member coalition.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the nature of the fight is changing, and the coalition must step up efforts to root out ISIS sleeper cells.

U.S. negotiators working ‘around the clock’ on trade deal with China » Trade talks between the U.S. and China are coming down to the wire, with the U.S. set to slap a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods. The deadline to strike a trade deal and avoid those tariffs is March 1st.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday the two sides aren’t close, but he remains optimistic.

MNUCHIN: Well, these are very complicated issues. We’re making progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Ambassador Lighthizer and I are heading to Beijing next week with a large team, and we look forward to continue to make more progress on it. 

Mnuchin said if U.S. negotiators can’t strike a deal with China by the deadline—quote—“it’s not because we haven’t worked around the clock.”

Without a new trade deal, the U.S. will impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods next month.

E.U. chief sounds off on Brexit impasse » European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday threw more water on hopes the EU will renegotiate a Brexit agreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

At a news conference in Brussels, Tusk stated once again that the prior agreement with May’s government is the only acceptable deal. And he caused an uproar when he added this remark:

TUSK: By the way, I’ve been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely. 

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Tusk’s comment was “out of order.” And leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom called the remarks “unacceptable and pretty disgraceful.”

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th.

Britain tied to the bloc indefinitely.

VA attorney general says he wore black face at college party » The political crisis in Virginia escalated Wednesday when another top Democrat admitted putting on blackface when he was in college. WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick has that story.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Governor Ralph Northam’s career is already hanging by a thread over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

Democratic Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax would take Northam’s place if he resigns. On Monday, Fairfax was confronted with uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct dating to 2004.

Attorney General Mark Herring would be next in line for governor. But on Wednesday he issued a statement saying he wore brown makeup and a wig in 1980 to look like a rapper during a party at the University of Virginia.

Herring has been among those calling on Northam to resign. He said in a statement that he is—quote—”deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation.” He added that in the days ahead, “honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general.”

In Virginia’s line of succession, after Herring comes the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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