Wednesday morning news: June 26, 2019

House passes emergency border funding bill » Lawmakers in the House last night passed $4.5 billion emergency funding bill. 

AUDIO: The yeas are 230. The nays are 195. The bill is passed. 

The bill is intended to provide funds to help care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children detained after crossing the southern border. Border officials say a surge on the southern border has strained resources beyond the breaking point. 

The bill passed largely along party lines. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Democrats crafted a partisan bill and shut Republicans out of the process. 

MCCARTHY: They are once again taking what should be a bipartisan issue and inserting partisan poison pills. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill contains necessary safeguards to make sure the money doesn’t fund what she called President Trump’s “cruel immigration policies:

PELOSI: To ensure these funds are used for humanitarian needs only. 

The vote sets up a showdown with the Republican-led Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan funding bill last week on a vote of 30-to-1. Pelosi told Democrats the Senate bill is good, but ours is better. 

Top border official announces resignation » Just hours before the House vote, the acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that he will step down within 10 days. Commissioner John Sanders did not give a reason for leaving. But the announcement follows an uproar over the discovery of migrant children being held in unsanitary conditions.

The government this week relocated 250 migrant children from a Border Patrol station near El Paso after media reports about poor living conditions there. A team of lawyers that visited the station said they saw hungry, filthy children in cramped conditions. Fifteen children had the flu. Ten others were in medical quarantine. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller to testify publicly » Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before two House committees after Democrats issued subpoenas demanding he appear. 

In a May 29th news conference Mueller said he did not intend to appear on Capitol Hill. He said of his Russia report—quote—”We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. He added “I would not provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

Mueller is slated to testify on July 17th. 

Iran lashes out after latest round of U.S. sanctions » Iran lashed out once again at the United States on Tuesday over new sanctions against its supreme leader and other officials. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the sanctions “outrageous and idiotic.” 

AUDIO: [Rouhani in Farsi]

He also warned that the move meant—quote—“closing the doors of diplomacy” between Tehran and Washington. 

But National Security Adviser John Bolton said eventually, Iran will have little choice. 

BOLTON: It will be, I think, the combination of sanctions and other pressure that does bring Iran to the table. 

Bolton said Iran could walk through an “open door” to talks with America. But he also warned that “all options remain on the table” if Tehran maintains its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

White House announces new press secretary/communications director » The White House said Tuesday that Stephanie Grisham will replace outgoing press secretary Sarah Sanders. 

Grisham has served as first lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, and the first lady made the announcement via Twitter. She said she I “can think of no better person to serve the administration & our country.”

Grisham will also take on the role of White House communications director. That job has been vacant since March. 

Kushner leads effort to promote peace plan in Middle East » President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner is leading an effort in the Middle East to promote the Trump administration’s plan for peace. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Kushner and other administration officials kicked off a two-day conference in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain on Tuesday. The gathering is an effort to convince investors and regional governments to send $50 billion over 10 years to the Palestinian territories and surrounding areas. The administration is billing that as an “economy first” approach to peace. 

Most of the funds are earmarked for infrastructure and business projects. A little more than half would go to the Palestinian territories.

Representatives from the Israeli and Palestinian governments are not taking part in the conference. Palestinian officials have argued the economic plan does not address the core political issues of the conflict. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, leaves a session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, June 14, 2019. 

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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