Tuesday morning news: April 2, 2019

Senate votes on disaster relief bill » A Republican-backed disaster relief bill failed a procedural vote in the Senate on Monday amid bipartisan finger-pointing.

Democrats opposed the measure because it didn’t include enough funds for Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery efforts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Trump administration is withholding already designated funds.

SCHUMER: The administration has yet to disperse $20 billion in recovery and mitigation funds for Puerto Rico that were already appropriated. And this is more than a year after they were appropriated by Congress. $20 billion sitting there as people suffer.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged lawmakers to focus on the current bill’s purpose.

MCCONNELL: This is no time for our colleagues across the aisle to prioritize a political fight with the president ahead of the urgent needs of communities across our country.

The $13.5 billion measure includes aid to Southern farmers and California communities devastated by last summer’s wildfire. It also offers rebuilding help for hurricane-hit states like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. And it would open up new funding to flood-ravaged Midwestern states.

The House passed an almost identical measure in January. But it includes $700 million in additional disaster aid for Puerto Rico. Lawmakers have already authorized $41 billion for the island.

Lawmakers question security clearance whistleblower » A career White House official claims members of President Trump’s administration gained security clearances despite troubling information in their past. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has more.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The problems ranged from fears of foreign influence to drug use and criminal conduct.

Tricia Newbold made those claims in a letter sent to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, the committee’s chairman, released Newbold’s letter on Monday.

Newbold has worked for the government for 18 years. She says at least 25 Trump administration officials got clearances after initial rejections. Only two still work for the administration.

The Oversight Committee is already investigating how Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former White House aide Rob Porter got their clearances.

Cummings plans to subpoena Newbold’s former boss, White House personnel security director Carl Kline, to testify before the committee.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

British lawmakers reject Brexit alternatives » AUDIO: We won’t go, we won’t go down without a fight…fight…Stop Brexit.

Protesters rallied outside Parliament in London on Monday as British lawmakers again tried to reach a consensus on Brexit. All four proposals failed, inching the U.K. closer to exiting the European Union without a deal.

Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke chastised his fellow lawmakers for falling into what many say would be a disaster for Britain’s economy.

CLARKE: We must avoid no-deal occuring in a fortnight’s time simply because the House of Commons couldn’t agree on anything, by default.

After Monday’s failed vote, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would again seek consensus for the plan she negotiated with the European Union last year. The House of Commons has already rejected it three times.

May’s Cabinet will meet today to discuss options. Britain is due to leave the EU on April 12th without an agreement.

SCOTUS rejects Daleiden case » The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case brought by pro-life activist David Daleiden. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: David Daleiden spent several years posing as a fetal tissue trader to gather evidence of illegal activity. As part of his undercover operation, he attended the annual National Abortion Federation conventions in 2014 and 2015.

During those events, Daleiden secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood workers discussing the illegal fetal tissue trade and late-term abortion procedures.

Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation filed suit in 2015. Daleiden claimed he was working as an undercover journalist protected by the First Amendment.

Lower courts disagreed and said racketeering and other claims against Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress could proceed. Monday’s Supreme Court ruling upholds that decision.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant) An anti Brexit protester and placards stand in the rain during demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

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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