WASHINGTON – The House began to consider legislation Wednesday that would allow some schools to opt out of healthier meal standards – a proposal that has drawn a veto threat from the White House.
The GOP spending bill on the House floor would allow schools to waive the school lunch and breakfast standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama for the next school year if they lost money on meal programs over a six-month period. The chamber is expected to have a final vote on the bill next week.
In a statement threatening a veto, the White House said Tuesday that the bill would be a major step backward for the health of American children by undermining the effort to provide kids with more nutritious food.
Blackwater trial begins for guards
Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards went on trial Wednesday in the killings of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of at least 18 others.
Over the next few days, a jury of 12 residents from the District of Columbia will be chosen from a pool of 111 people to decide the guards’ fate. The trial is expected to last months.
Committee OKs Stutzman bill
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill introduced by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, that would increase the transparency of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The panel, of which Stutzman is a member, voted 35-24 for his bill. The Business Guidance Transparency Act would require the bureau to provide a public comment period before issuing final guidance on regulations and to make public any studies, data and analyses the agency relies on in preparing and issuing guidance.
Stutzman’s office said the legislation is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and trade associations representing bankers, credit unions, automobile dealers and land title companies.
Clinton weighs in on Cantor defeat
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by a candidate who basically ran against immigrants.
In Chicago to promote her new book in a public discussion with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said a negative attitude about immigration and immigrants is playing out politically in some parts of the country, including Cantor’s GOP primary.
Activist sentenced in Egypt uprising
An Egyptian court on Wednesday convicted a prominent activist from the 2011 uprising of organizing an unauthorized protest and assaulting a policeman, sentencing him to 15 years in prison, in the latest blow to liberal activists at a time of rapidly eroding freedoms.
The sentence against Alaa Abdel-Fattah is the toughest against any of the secular activists behind the 18-day uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year reign.
It is also the first conviction of a prominent activist since former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took office as president Sunday.
Filipino terror suspect detained
Philippine security forces on Wednesday captured a top Filipino commander of the Abu Sayyaf extremist group who is on a U.S. list of most-wanted terrorists and has acknowledged receiving al-Qaida funds to finance bombings in the country.
Khair Mundos is one of the highest-ranked terrorist suspects to be captured in the country in years.
Police storm church seeking ship owner
Thousands of South Korean police officers stormed a sprawling church compound Wednesday in their hunt for a fugitive billionaire businessman over April’s ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing, officials said.
Authorities believe the businessman, Yoo Byung-eun, owns the ship and that his alleged corruption may have contributed to the sinking.
Police and prosecutors have been after Yoo for weeks and are offering a $500,000 reward for tips about him.
Yoo, 73, is a member of a group called the Evangelical Baptist Church, which critics say is a cult.
About 5,000 police officers raided the group’s compound.