Wednesday morning news: April 3, 2019

President says GOP healthcare vote to follow 2020 elections » President Trump says he’ll wait until after the 2020 election to push for a Republican healthcare plan to replace Obamacare.

The president said Republicans are developing a plan with cheaper premiums and deductibles.

TRUMP: So if we get back the House, and on the assumption that we keep the Senate and we keep the presidency, which I hope are two good assumptions, we’re going to have phenomenal healthcare. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the White House is holding America’s healthcare hostage. And he added Democrats in both chambers would introduce resolutions condemning the Trump administration’s backing of a lawsuit that seeks to strike down Obamacare.

Schumer told reporters …

SCHUMER: All 47 Democrats in the Senate are united in demanding that President Trump and Attorney General Barr reverse their callous legal assault on Americans’ healthcare. 

House Democrats plan to vote on their resolution today.

President Trump blasts Democrats, Puerto Rican leaders » President Trump is blasting Democrats and political leaders in Puerto Rico after a disaster relief package for farmers failed in the Senate. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Democratic senators voted down the aid package on Monday, saying it didn’t include enough money for ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

President Trump responded on his Twitter account saying, “The people of Puerto Rico are GREAT, but the politicians are incompetent and corrupt.”

The president said the Democrats’ vote Monday was shameful, adding…“Puerto Rico got $91 billion for the hurricane” adding that—quote—“all their local politicians do is complain” and take money from the USA.

Critics say Trump is misleading the public about the relief dollars spent in Puerto Rico by counting $50 billion in estimated recovery costs over the next 20 years.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Democrats halt effort to short Senate debate on nominees » Senate Democrats successfully shot down a Republican effort to change the rules in the Senate to shorten debate time on nominations.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that the change is needed because he says Democrats are slow-walking President Trump’s nominations at an unprecedented rate.

MCCONNELL: This behavior is novel. It’s a break from Senate tradition, and it’s something this body needs to address, not just for the sake of this president but for future presidents of any party. 

The rules change needed 60 votes to pass. It failed 51 to 48. Utah Republican Mike Lee joined Democrats in voting against it. McConnell then changed his vote as well, voting “no’ so he can bring the measure to a vote again down the road.

McConnell could still use the so-called “nuclear option” to change the rules with a simple majority.

Second woman accuses Joe Biden of inappropriate touching » A second woman has accused former vice president and possible White House contender Joe Biden of inappropriate touching. Former congressional staffer Amy Lappos recalled an interaction with Biden in 2009.

LAPPOS: He walked up to me and wrapped his hands around my face and pulled me in and started rubbing noses with me. 

Lappos said—quote—“It didn’t feel sexual. It just felt like a total invasion of my space.”

Former Nevada politician Lucy Flores penned a magazine essay last week in which she wrote that Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014.

FLORES: To have the vice president of the United States do that to me so unexpectedly and just kind of out of nowhere, it was just shocking.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chimed in Tuesday on the controversy, saying she believes Biden has not yet owned up to his behavior.

PELOSI: So to say I’m sorry that you were offended is not an apology. I’m sorry I invaded your space, but not I’m sorry you were offended. 

But Pelosi said Biden is just an affectionate person and his behavior doesn’t disqualify him from entering the 2020 race.

Venezuela’s chief justice moves to prosecute Juan Guaido » The chief justice of Venezuela’s supreme court has asked the country’s National Constituent Assembly to strip opposition leader Juan Guaido of his immunity from prosecution as leader of the National Assembly. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Justice Maikel Moreno this week said Guaido should be prosecuted for violating a ban on leaving the country. Last month, Guaido traveled to meet with leaders of Latin American nations that support regime change in Venezuela.

Maduro loyalists also accuse Guaido of inciting violence and receiving illicit funds from abroad.

But both the high court and Constituent Assembly are packed with Maduro supporters and Guaido says they’re merely arms of an illegitimate regime.

Venezuelan security forces have already arrested Guaido’s chief of staff.

The U.S. and more than 50 other nations recognize Guaido as the rightful interim president.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. 

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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