Wednesday morning news: March 27, 2019


House fails to override president’s veto » Lawmakers in the House tried and failed on Tuesday to override President Trump’s veto of a measure that would have cancelled his border emergency declaration.

AUDIO: The yeas are 248 and the nays are 181. Two-thirds not being in the affirmative, the veto of the president is sustained. 

President Trump declared an emergency last month in order to shift defense funds to build a border wall.  

And members of the House Armed Services Committee grilled Pentagon officials Tuesday about those plans. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan told lawmakers the process has already started.

SHANAHAN: Risks were weighed, and then, given a legal order from the commander in chief, we are executing on that order. 

The panel doesn’t have the legal authority to block the transfer. But it could make changes in the law, taking away the department’s authority to shift funds in the future.

The Pentagon last week compiled a list of 400 military construction projects that might be tapped. So far, Defense officials have identified at least $4 billion that it could transfer. But Shanahan said some things are off limits — like money for military housing and projects deemed necessary for military readiness.


Justice Department asks judge to undo Obamacare » The Justice Department has sided with a federal judge who ruled Obamacare unconstitutional.

The department told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that “the district court’s judgment should be affirmed.” Last December, District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled Congress kicked the constitutional legs out from under the law when it said the government could no longer force Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. A group of Republican states filed that challenge.

Last June, the Justice Department said it would not defend the individual mandate but added some parts of the Affordable Care Act should stay in place. This week’s filing reverses that position. And on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pounced.

PELOSI: They say one thing and they do another. They say they’re going to protect pre-existing conditions as a benefit, and then they go to court to strip it. 

House Democrats say they plan to introduce legislation today to protect the law. They say Republicans are trying to take healthcare away from millions.

The president says he still wants to replace Obamacare with something else, and that he favors keeping coverage for pre-existing conditions. Obamacare will stay in place while the court battle continues.


Trump administration tightens rules to prevent abortion funding abroad » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is tightening rules to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions overseas.

The Global Protect Life policy, formerly called the Mexico City Policy blocks funding to any non-governmental group—or NGO—engaged in the abortion business. But Pompeo said the new policy expands that rule.

POMPEO: We are also making clear that we will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGO’s that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry. We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes and end runs around our policy. 

Pompeo said the Trump administration has shown—quote … “that we can continue to meet our critical global health goals, including providing healthcare for women, while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies.”


OxyContin maker reaches massive settlement » The maker of OxyContin and the family that owns the company have reached a massive legal settlement with the state of Oklahoma. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Purdue Pharma and its controlling Sackler family have agreed to pay $270 million to settle the suit over the prescription painkiller’s role in the opioid crisis.

Nearly $200 million will reportedly go toward creating the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. And local governments will get nearly $13 million.

This week’s settlement is the first to come out of a barrage of lawsuits against the OxyContin makers.

Despite the massive payout, some activists were furious, saying they were denied the chance to hold Purdue Pharma fully accountable in public, in front of a jury.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


Tensions remain high along Israel-Gaza border » Tuesday was quieter along Israel’s border with Gaza after another night of fighting. Hamas and Israeli forces traded missile and rocket attacks despite earlier reports of a ceasefire.

But tensions remain high. The Israeli military is preparing for a possible ground operation. Tanks and armored vehicles gathered at the border while more Israeli troops head to southern Israel.

Egyptian officials are still working to broker a ceasefire that will hold.


More blackouts hit Venezuelans » Lawmakers in the House have unanimously approved three bills aimed at stepping up U.S. pressure on Venezuela’s disputed president to step down. The votes came as many Venezuelans endured another major blackout. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: One of the bills would add new restrictions on the export of tear gas, riot gear, and other items that Nicolas Maduro’s government could use against protesters.

The second measure calls for up to $150 million in humanitarian aid.

And the third would require the State Department and intelligence agencies to provide an assessment about the threat from Russian influence in the country.

The U.S. and more than 50 other nations have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president. They say Maduro’s reelection win last year was fraudulent.

Meantime, another blackout knocked out power in 14 of the country’s 23 states. The outage halted subway service in Caracas and shut down communication lines across the country. Officials restored power Monday evening, but it went out again soon after.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.


(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File) This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.

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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One comment on “Wednesday morning news: March 27, 2019

  1. Amy Chang says:

    Nancy Pelosi pounced – made me LOL 🙂

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