The World and Everything in It: June 1, 2023
The House passes a new debt ceiling bill with bipartisan support; The FAA proposes requiring companies to compensate passengers for flight delays; and a biplane pilot in Kentucky flies to missionaries across the globe. Plus, commentary from Cal Thomas and the Thursday morning news
PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by learners like us. I’m Mia Moore. And my name’s Isaiah. We are a Christian co-op based out of Redding, PA, and we’re here visiting Washington D.C. this week. We hope you enjoy the show.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! What’s going on with the debt ceiling negotiations? We have the latest from Washington.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also the Biden Administration proposes new rules for canceled flights. And we’ll meet a pilot who splits time between aerial tours in Kentucky and serving God in a dangerous part of the world.
STEVE KOCH: You know, I just feel like this is a calling for me. I mean, why are the missionaries still there? You could ask them the same question.
And the pronoun police come to campus.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, June 1st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now here’s Kent Covington with today’s news.
AUDIO: Yeas are 314. The nays 117. The bill is passed.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Debt limit » Lawmakers in the House approving a bill last night to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid a default on U.S. debts.
The bill also trims overspending in Washington, though not nearly as much as many House conservatives wanted.
GOP Senator John Thune said while the bill isn’t perfect.
JOHN THUNE: I give great credit to Speaker McCarthy and the House leadership for at least being able to move something. Where we started at zero. I mean, President Biden wanted a clean debt limit increase with zero spending reforms. We got a trillion and a half in spending reform.
But Republican Congressman Andy Harris said he’s not convinced.
ANDY HARRIS: It’s a hollow deal. There really is no real spending cuts. There are promises, but we’ve heard promises in the past about cutting spending. And it’ll add trillions of dollars to the federal debt, which we honestly just can’t afford.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to move fast on the bill in hopes of sending it to President Biden’s desk as quickly as possible.
Wray contempt » The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is set to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress.
Chairman James Comer reacted Wednesday after Wray defied a subpoena, refusing to hand over a form that Comer believes details the accusations of an FBI whistleblower.
JAMES COMER: This 1023 form is not classified. There is no reason for them not to work with us on this investigation.
The form reportedly details an alleged bribery scheme involving President Biden and a foreign national during his time as vice president.
The FBI said it offered to give the Oversight committee access to information it seeks quoting here—“in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests of FBI investigations.”
OK supreme court abortion » The Oklahoma Supreme Court says two pro-life laws are unconstitutional. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER: The court ruled 6-3 yesterday to strike down two laws that protected all babies from abortion unless the mother was experiencing a medical emergency. State lawmakers passed both measures last year.
Some doctors complained the laws did not clearly define what constituted a medical emergency.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt criticized yesterday’s ruling, saying it was politically motivated.
A pro-life law adopted in 1910 remains in effect. That law makes it a felony to perform an abortion or help a woman obtain the procedure unless it is necessary to save her life.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Ukraine/Russia » President Biden has approved another $300 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition for air defenses.
White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby:
JOHN KIRBY: In just this here month of May, Russia has launched 17 different air assaults against Kyiv, harming civilians, devastating civilian areas, hitting civilian infrastructure. In response, the United States is going to continue to support Ukraine, help give them the things that they need to better defend themselves.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Poland told reporters at the Hague yesterday that they are taking part in the initiative to supply Ukraine with American-made F-16s and to train Ukrainian fighter pilots to fly them.
Dodgers pitcher speaks out » Some Major League Baseball players are speaking out about a decision by the Los Angeles Dodgers to give a “community hero” award to a controversial LGBT group. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has more.
MARY MUNCY: The Dodgers are honoring a group called “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” at an upcoming Pride event. The group stages drag performances mocking Catholics and Christians in general. Its displays have included a sexualized parody of the crucifixion of Jesus.
Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinin released a statement saying he’s “disappointed” in the team’s decision that “displays hate and mockery” of Christians.
Treinen quoted Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked; a man will reap what he sows.”
Fellow Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams expressed their disappointment, as well.
The MLB players union has been in touch with the league to voice concerns over teams pushing social and political issues.
For WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.
Bud Light / Target » The financial freefall continues at the company that makes Bud Light following its partnership with a transgender social media star.
Anheuser-Busch is now entering bear territory with its shares down more than 20% since the customer backlash began two months ago.
Meantime, Target has lost $12 billion dollars in market value over the past couple of weeks amid a boycott over its LGBT activism.
It’s on track for its biggest market losing streak in 23 years.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: the end game for the debt ceiling drama. Plus, the double life of a biplane pilot.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday the 1st of June, 2023. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
What a sweet, sweet sound! Last night was bonfire night at World Journalism Institute. I’ve only been away a few days, and I miss ’em already.
Nick, Paul, and our producer Harrison, also the Big Bash and Michelle Schlavin from WORLD Watch, as well as members of our breaking-news team, and WORLD magazine editors Lynn Vincent and Daniel James Devine. They have continued on, helping the students wrap up their final projects.
But times like these, times of fellowship like this, is so important, too. They’re working on building relationships, because out in a hostile world of journalism, where worldviews are in conflict, those relationships with like-minded brothers and sisters will be so valuable.
Let’s just enjoy a little more of this student and teacher fellowship.
SOUND: [STUDENTS SINGING AND STUDENT THANKFULNESS MONTAGE]
REICHARD: How heartwarming is that!??!
Well, maybe you’re a listener who hasn’t yet had the joy (and I mean the joy!) of investing in our work here at WORLD. This is the week to do it. We’ve said it every day this week: we have generous donors who are matching dollar for dollar each new gift that comes in. Please visit wng.org/newdonor. W-N-G stands for World News Group. And this week only all new donor gifts are matched, meaning they’ll go twice as far. Sweet! wng.org/newdonor.
BROWN: All right, very good.
Well, coming up next: resolving the nation’s debt ceiling drama. World’s Washington Bureau reporter Leo Briceno brings us a report.
LEO BRICENO, REPORTER: Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a highly-anticipated agreement that raises the debt ceiling for the United States. The bill is the product of weeks of negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the White House, and enables the country to continue to meet its financial obligations. But its terms have left both Republicans and Democrats with less than they had hoped.
The house passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 in a landslide 314 to 117 votes. More democrats voted in favor of the McCarthy-led bill than Republicans. Some members of the GOP argued the bill wasn’t strong enough and refused to vote for the 100-page piece of legislation.
This bill has been months in the making.
Many Republicans in the House wanted to use the debt ceiling debate to make meaningful cuts to government spending. President Joe Biden had said he wouldn’t entertain any cuts without first raising the ceiling.
The bill makes minimal reductions to government spending, but does impose some limits for non-defense expenses in the next two years. At the same time, the agreement suspends the debt ceiling until 2025—until after the next presidential election.
Richard Stern is the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Center for the Federal Budget. Stern says those looking at this bill to pay a “down payment” on the nation’s debt, will have to look elsewhere.
GROVER STERN: This is terrible because it's not really increasing the debt ceiling, it's suspending it. So between, you know, whenever the bill gets signed in the law, if it gets signed in the law and January 1st of 2025 there will just be no debt ceiling whatsoever. And so for that whole period of time, whatever.
The debt ceiling has dominated the spotlight for both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. But what about everyday voters? What do they see when they look at the issue? I asked a man on the street in Iowa last week what he thought.
SOUND: [WALKING DOWN THE STREET]
Caesar Jiron lives in Sioux City, Iowa—in a low income neighborhood where a lot of the residents are unemployed. Jiron keeps tabs on what’s going on in D.C., but doesn’t have high hopes for future negotiations on U.S. debt. He thinks some of the country’s best solutions may remain undiscovered.
CAESAR JIRON: The politicians, they pass bills thinking it is their money, and they will not think outside the box.
Part of Jiron’s frustration stems from inefficient government spending. In fourteen years with the military, Jiron spent time in Iraq and Kuwait. While overseas, he was frequently shocked by some of the government’s monetary decisions. He remembers how the army used to supply printers, valued at around $500.
JIRON: When the printer ran out of ink, just to get that ink over there for the same printer, it was another $500! So what was better? Oh, we just order a new printer. That’s the same problem with this budget that we have here nowadays.
For now, Jiron is not optimistic about Congress’ ability to meaningfully address the nation’s debt going forward.
JIRON: “It’s trillions of dollars! And who’s going to pay for it? It is impossible—right now 31 trillion. It is impossible for America to come out of that debt.
Back in D.C. at the Capitol, I asked House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries what his message was to fellow Democrats in the Senate as they prepare to entertain the bill.
HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Let's get done what we need to get done on the house floor and then on to the Senate, but we remain committed to avoiding a catastrophic default.
BRICENO: What do you say to the senators that are currently debating whether or not they're going to vote for this, even against a Republican led bill?
JEFFRIES: Expectation that if we get this bill through the house with a strong bipartisan vote, that it will clear the Senate and we will avoid a catastrophic default.
The bill’s journey isn’t over, and the debt ceiling remains unresolved. The bill now heads to the Senate where it will need bipartisan support to pass before it can head to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leo Briceno.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: new flight rules could be coming to the U.S.
Almost ten million travelers slammed U.S. airlines over Memorial Day weekend. That’s nearly 350,000 more travelers than the same weekend in 2019—pre-pandemic.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Last year’s travel season saw remarkably high flight cancellations as airlines struggled to find staff, and now President Biden has, in his words, “challenged them to do better.” But what would better look like?
WORLD’s Mary Muncy brings us the story.
MARY MUNCY, REPORTER: Brooke Bruce and Justin Stoltz were stuck on the Denver tarmac for seven hours earlier this year.
BROOKE BRUCE: We were so delayed and the pilots had to be switched out. It was horrible.
They had hoped to be lounging on the beach by that time. Instead, they spent 12 hours in the airport.
BRUCE: It was a whole day of our vacation was gone. And basically they sent us a $25 voucher.
Right now, airlines are only required to refund a ticket if a flight is delayed or canceled. Any other compensation is up to the individual airline and they’re not required to tell passengers what that compensation will be.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg:
PETE BUTTIGIEG: We depend on airlines get us to weddings, vacations, and job interviews that often wind up being some of the most important and memorable events in our lives.
Buttigieg and President Biden proposed new rules last month to require airlines to compensate passengers for what they call “controllable” cancellations or delays.
BIDEN: My administration will propose a historic new rule that will make it mandatory, not voluntary - but mandatory for all U.S. airlines to compensate you with meals, hotels, taxis, ride shares, or rebo- - and rebooking foo- - fees, and cash, miles, and/or travel vouchers whenever they are the ones to blame for the cancellation or delay. And that's all on top of refunding the cost of your ticket.
Europe already has rules like this.
Betty Jackson was stuck in a London airport for nine hours with her husband, her son, and her son’s family.
The airlines had given them a piece of paper before they got to their gate.
BETTY JACKSON: And so then we had enough time that we were killing that then we read it carefully enough. And we're like, is this saying what we think it's saying?
That paper listed what airlines in Europe are required to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations.
JACKSON: And we got this huge refund. I don't even remember how much but it was like, it's EU rules.
In the EU, every person whose flight is delayed by more than three hours has the right to claim some form of compensation and airlines are required to inform passengers of that right.
In the U.S. right now, if a flight is delayed, ten airlines have voluntarily committed to providing meals to passengers and nine have committed to providing hotel accommodations.
But not everyone thinks making that mandatory in the U.S. is a good idea.
KAREN: So this will mean that our airline prices are gonna go up.
This is Karen at the Asheville Regional Airport.
KAREN: We want our airlines to stay in business. And if we want them to stay in business, they need to make a profit.
But even with the compensation rules, domestic flights in Europe are typically cheaper than in the U.S.
There are a lot of factors at play, but research from the Fraser Institute suggests competition is one of the biggest.
Europe has an “open sky” policy meaning any carrier from any country can pick up and drop off passengers anywhere in the EU, so airlines and even airports are competing for traffic.
Right now, the U.S. doesn’t have that.
KAREN: if they have to, you know, house and feed a whole plane load of people, it's gonna, they're gonna they're gonna patter tickets to provide for that.
Airlines have not said how they will cover any extra costs or if there will be much extra cost.
The trade association Airlines for America told me that most cancellations are for things outside of an airline’s control, so they wouldn’t have to pay for accommodations.
BUTTIGIEG: Weather remains the top cause of airline delays but staffing and other issues under airlines responsibilities meant that last summer we saw unacceptable rates of delays and cancellations even on blue sky days.
Airlines for America says U.S. airlines have voluntarily been hiring more workers and reducing flight schedules to try to keep travel smooth.
Even with the high number of travelers over Memorial Day weekend, Flight Aware told me less than one percent of flights were canceled—that’s only about 500 flights, about the same as in 2019.
But last year, nearly five percent of flights were canceled on one day that weekend and nearly 3,000 flights were canceled over the whole weekend.
For now, the Biden administration has launched a website that lists which airlines compensate more than the minimum ticket price.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 1st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: serving God in the air.
Steve Koch is a mild-mannered aviator who gives biplane tours over Louisville, Kentucky. But that’s not all he does. Koch’s other job is a volunteer missionary pilot in one of the more dangerous parts of the world. Here’s WORLD Associate Correspondent Travis Kircher.
KOCH: Okay, when you climb in here...
TRAVIS KIRCHER, REPORTER: It’s a sunny Friday evening at Bowman Field, a small general aviation airport in Louisville, Kentucky. 69-year-old Steve Koch is strapping passengers in for another tour in his WACO biplane.
Koch is a pilot with Classic Biplane Tours.
SOUND: [Engine Startup]
Once everyone is strapped in, Koch starts the seven cylinder, 275 horsepower engine. Then he radios the tower and taxis to Runway One-Five.
RADIO: Bowman Tower, Classic One is Ready. Classic One Bowman Tower, right turn approved, Runway One-Five, clear for takeoff, traffic Cessna, left base.
And with that, the plane is airborne.
SOUND: [Biplane taking off ]
Koch climbs to about 2,000 feet and levels off. Occasionally he dips the wing to point out some familiar landmarks.
BIPLANE TOUR: Well, there’s Cardinal Stadium, off to your right there. And we’re right directly overtop of Churchill Downs. Did you all get a good view of that?
If you think Koch sounds cool and collected in an airplane, you’re right. In fact, his first flight was 64 years ago.
STEVE KOCH: Right out here where we’re sitting right now, at Bowman Field, and they took me for an airplane ride. And I was about five years old. I was in the back seat, and when the airplane lifted off the ground, I looked down and I just couldn’t believe how cool that was.
At age 16, Koch was taking flying lessons, and it wasn’t long before he completed his first solo flight – a special milestone for any pilot.
KOCH: We had a rule out here on first solos. You had to buy the instructor a cup of coffee or a Coke. Usually it was a Coke. Cokes were 10 cents then and coffee was free – but they usually wanted the Coke. [LAUGHS]
Koch became an accomplished pilot. He got married and had two kids. In the mid-1990s, he became a Christian and started looking for a way to use airplanes for Christ. That's when his pastor pointed him to Agape Flights.
Based in Florida, Agape Flights is a missionary aviation organization making regular flights to isolated areas in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. For the past 15 years, Koch has split his time between flying jobs in Louisville, and delivering much-needed supplies to missionaries in those countries. That cargo can include Amazon deliveries, medical supplies, mail, household goods – even chickens!
KOCH: Now the chickens – we keep them up in the crew area, because they’ll get too cold in the back and they won’t survive. I even had a controller ask, ‘What’s all that – what’s that? That sounds like baby chickens in the background!’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what it is!’”
The majority of Koch’s flights are to Haiti – flying into the capital, Port-au-Prince, before making stops at isolated cities like Cap-Haitian, Jeremie and Les Cayes. But in recent years, Haiti has become a much more dangerous place. The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 created a vacuum that led to widespread violence, gas shortages, and gang activity – including the kidnappings of 17 Christian missionaries from Christian Aid Ministries.
MARK STOCKELAND: I remember Steve getting out of the plane and going, "Holy cow, man! Look at all these guns and bulletproof vests!" I was like, "I know, dude!"
That’s Mark Stockeland. He’s the founder and CEO of Haiti Bible Mission in Jeremie, Haiti. Koch regularly flies in supplies for HBM, and Stockeland says with the recent instability, those shipments are more important than ever.
But last spring, Agape Flights suffered a setback.
KOCH: They attacked our plane.
While Koch and a team from Agape were helping to rebuild a Haitian church, protesters attacked their aircraft at the Les Cayes airport. Stockeland found out when a friend sent him a video.
SOUND: [HAITIANS ATTACKING PLANE]
STOCKELAND: They’ve literally stormed the airport, pushed the security fences down and literally got 100-and-something people jumping up and down on that plane, and they’ve pushed it into the street, and pushed it down the road a little bit and then lit it on fire and just burned it to the ground.
Stockland quickly sent armed security teams in trucks to drive Koch and his team out of Les Cayes and safely to Haiti Bible Mission in Jeremie. Koch says he was thankful for the response.
KOCH: It’s a pretty dangerous road from Les Cayes to Jeremie. It goes through the mountains and it’s – there’s a lot of carjackings and kidnappings that goes on that road.
They found out later the protesters mistook the plane for a government aircraft. But that incident underscores the dangers Koch and others face. When asked why he does it – why he volunteers to make these flights – Koch says it’s about obedience.
KOCH: You know, I just feel like this is a calling for me. I mean, why are the missionaries still there? You could ask them the same question.
Stockeland says he’s just glad missionary pilots like Koch are still in the air.
STOCKELAND: They were flying in little generators for us. They flew in our solar panels and batteries. But yeah. When he flies that stuff in, it’s like Christmas.
SOUND: [PLANE LANDING]
Back in Louisville, Koch glides in for a perfect landing at Bowman Field.
RADIO: Bowman Tower, Classic One is back inbound, Sierra. Classic One, Bowman Tower, straight in, Runway One-Five, cleared to land. Straight in, One-Five, cleared to land, Classic One.
SOUND: [PLANE WHEELS TOUCHDOWN]
And at age 69, he’s hoping younger pilots will also set a course for the mission field.
KOCH: Well, it’s not about the money. It’s about the heart. You know, if that’s your vocation – if that’s your passion – then go for it.
SOUND: [AIRPORT NOISE]
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Travis Kircher at Bowman Field, in Louisville, Kentucky.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. For many, today marks the beginning of Pride Month–a whole month set aside to celebrate LGBTQ+ values. But some retailers like Target and Kohls are getting pushback from conservatives. World commentator Cal Thomas takes a look at two other corporations with woke policies.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: What is the primary purpose of corporations? It is to make money for their owners, the employees they hire who pay taxes, and their stockholders. It is also to provide goods or services to as many consumers as possible. Would a corporation knowingly do anything to harm these objectives? Only if it wanted to commit economic suicide.
And yet that is precisely what a growing number of U.S. corporations are doing as they bow the knee to the LGBTQ activists. You've heard what Target, Kohls, and now even Chick-fil-A have done.
Yes, Chick-fil-A, the company supported by many Christians and conservatives. When it stood against unjustified criticism by the LGBTQ crowd activists, people lined up to buy their sandwiches in what I call the opposite of a boycott–a pro-cott. Now, many are realizing for the first time that the company has a meaningless initiative called Better at Together in which it wraps itself in the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity agenda.
And then there's Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, one of the most famous and professional medical facilities in the nation. They–can I say that without asking?–they have decided to offer employees the choice of 50 different pronouns as part of their identity name tags. Some of them are unpronounceable to me. One wonders where they got them and how many employees will choose them. Statements about cultural awareness are included in a statement by the hospital's diversity person.
What's next? And you can be sure there will be a next.
Without a standard, anything goes. Without God, anything is not only possible, but probable. Paul the Apostle rightly stated that as the end times approach, people will believe whatever their itching ears want to hear. The ears of many have never itched so much as they are today.
God help us. No one else can or will.
I'm Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: Katie McCoy joins us to talk about the so-called Pride Month and the release of her new book, To Be a Woman. Plus, back to the Spiderverse. Collin Garbarino has a review. That and more tomorrow.
I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 6.
Go now in grace and peace.
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