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News Wrap: White House under pressure from both sides on child migrant deportations

July 11, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The White House took criticism from both sides of the political spectrum today over the flood of migrant children illegally crossing the southern border. Many leading Republicans complained the president’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding is too much.

Arizona Senator John McCain:

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN,
R, Ariz.: Neither I nor the majority of my Republican colleagues will support expenditure of billions of dollars, which will only perpetuate the problem, until we have addressed the source of the problem, and that means the repeal of the law that was passed that creates this loophole.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The law in question is a 2008 statute that bars quick deportations of children from Central America. Republicans are demanding it be changed, but Democrats in the congressional Hispanic Caucus said they firmly oppose any such move.

Still, White House spokesman Josh Earnest left the door open to that possibility.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: What we’re focused on is the ultimate goal. And if that means changing the 2008 law, if it means giving greater authority to the secretary of homeland security, if it requires passing some other law, we’re focused on the end results.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the U.S. Border Patrol suspended plans to send hundreds more migrant children from Texas to the San Diego area after protests.

U.S. business economists have dialed back their growth expectations for this year. The National Association for Business Economics now projects expansion ran at an annual rate of 3 percent in the second quarter. That’s down half-a-percent from an earlier forecast. The forecast for the year is now just 1.6 percent. Even though, most economists said they see other positive signs and think the likelihood of another recession is very low.

Germany says it still wants close relations with the U.S., despite a spying scandal. That follows two incidents of German government employees allegedly passing secrets to the U.S. Berlin has asked the CIA station chief to leave the country, but the foreign minister said today this doesn’t mean a permanent rift.

FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, Foreign Minister, Germany (through interpreter): Despite the troubling incidents in recent weeks that led to yesterday’s decisions, for me, our partnership with the United States is without alternative. We want to reinvigorate our partnership, our friendship on an honest basis, and we are ready for this.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Last year, it came out that the U.S. intercepted German Internet traffic and eavesdropped on the chancellor.

In Ukraine, a rebel rocket attack killed said at least 19 government soldiers near the eastern border with Russia. In turn, President Petro Poroshenko warned that, for every soldier killed, scores and hundreds of militants will die.

But in a phone call, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Ukrainian leader to use — quote — “a sense of proportion” and protect civilians.

Kurdish forces in Iraq have grabbed two major oil fields in the northern part of the country. The move today widens a split with the Baghdad government. The oil fields are outside the city of Kirkuk, which Kurdish fighters seized weeks ago amid the chaos of a Sunni insurgency.

Secretary of State John Kerry made an emergency trip to Afghanistan today over the disputed presidential election. In Kabul, he urged presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to let the United Nations investigate alleged voter fraud.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We obviously have high hopes that the questions about the election will be resolved quickly, can be resolved, and then a way forward can take place which can give Afghans confidence that they have a presidency and a government that is capable of unifying all Afghans and building the road to the future.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Amid the political crisis, U.S. officials hope to get an agreement signed that keeps some American troops in Afghanistan past year’s end.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will halt transfers of biological samples from its high-security labs. That follows an incident last month that could have exposed staffers to anthrax, plus an earlier incident involving bird flu. No one got sick, but CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden says lab safety has to improve.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Our laboratories are core to our ability to protect Americans. Our laboratories are the reason we are the gold standard for not just infectious diseases, but environmental health as well. And for this to happen and put our workers potentially at risk is totally unacceptable.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The CDC also announced that two vials of smallpox virus found recently after 60 years still contained live virus. They’re being destroyed. The vials turned up at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Chrysler announced the latest auto safety recall today, some 650,000 Jeep and Dodge SUVs sold in the U.S. The wiring in their vanity mirror lights could be prone to short circuit and catch fire. There have been three injuries. The recall applies to vehicles built between 2011 and 2014.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 28 points to close at 16,943. The Nasdaq rose 19 to close at 4,415. And the S&P 500 added three points to finish at 1,967. But, for the week, the Dow lost seven-tenths of a percent, the S&P slipped 1 percent and the Nasdaq fell more than 1.5 percent.

Veteran journalist John Seigenthaler died today at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. Over a long career, he edited The Nashville Tennessean, and worked on civil rights under attorney General Robert Kennedy. He also advised Kennedy’s presidential campaign and helped get USA Today started. John Seigenthaler was 86 years old.