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News Wrap: House GOP elect McCarthy as majority leader

June 19, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans in the House of Representatives have elected new leader, first a new majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California. Members met and voted today behind closed doors. The vote count was not made public. McCarthy had been the party’s majority whip. He will be replaced as whip by Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who defeated two other House members.

After the vote, McCarthy told reporters his new mission is clear.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, Majority Leader-Elect: America is struggling. We’re struggling with a stagnant economy, a failed health care law, and so many are living paycheck to paycheck. They’re looking for individuals that put people before politics.

I make one promise. I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen.

JUDY WOODRUFF: House Republicans were forced to scramble to elect new leadership after former Majority Leader Eric Cantor shocked the political world and lost his Virginia primary to a Tea Party challenger. Cantor will step down from his leadership post July 31.

GWEN IFILL: As many as 75 government scientists in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued that warning today. The agency said researchers at one of their high-level bio- security labs failed to properly inactivate the bacteria samples. They were then transferred to less secure labs. The CDC is offering treatment to anyone who may have come in contact with the bacteria.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Three Midwestern states braced for flooding today after torrential rain and heavy thunderstorms all this week. The 400-mile-long Big Sioux River is pushing record levels, already flooding parts of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Residents are filling sandbags and shoring up their homes against the encroaching water. The Big Sioux River is expected to crest tomorrow morning, a foot above the record that was set in 1969.

GWEN IFILL: In Wisconsin, state prosecutors have accused Republican Governor Scott Walker of illegal fund-raising. Newly unsealed court documents show prosecutors allege he was part of coordinated fund-raising with conservative groups in a nationwide — quote — “criminal scheme.”  No charges have been filed against Walker or any member of his staff.

The investigation began in 2012, when Walker faced a recall election, but a federal judge put it on hold in May.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces were locked in intense fighting in Eastern Ukraine today. The rebels tried to organize their forces, but said they were outnumbered and outgunned.

A top rebel commander begged Russia for help. In London, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia has resumed a military buildup along the border.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Secretary General, NATO: We call on Russia to stop the flow of weapons and equipment from Russia to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. We call on Russia to stop the support for pro-Russian armed gangs in Eastern Ukraine.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Russian President Vladimir Putin said today he expects the Ukrainian onslaught to end soon, in line with a peace proposal offered by Ukraine yesterday..

GWEN IFILL: Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians in the West Bank as they searched for three missing Israeli teenagers. The teens disappeared a week ago while hitchhiking home from the West Bank. The Israeli raid took place overnight in Jenin. About 300 Palestinians threw explosive devices and opened fire. Thirty were arrested.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Spain swore in a new king today. Felipe VI succeeds his 76-year-old father, Juan Carlos, who gave up the throne after nearly 40 years in power. Felipe was formally proclaimed the new monarch during a ceremony in parliament. Although he wields no executive power, the king promised a reinvigorated monarchy for new times.

GWEN IFILL: Stocks on Wall Street saw very little movement today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 15 points to close at 16,921; the Nasdaq fell three points to close at 4,359; the S&P 500 added two points to close at 1,959.