But there were developments in domestic news too. Congress is still debating how to respond to the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the Southwestern border. House and Senate leaders have both expressed support for passing a bill before the August recess, but there are only eight legislative days remaining—and Ted Cruz just threw a wrench into the process.
There are a few different options on the table. President Barack Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds to help feed, detain and transport the thousands of unaccompanied minors who have come across the border. The money will also go towards hiring more immigration court judges and further securing the border.
House Republicans don’t want to give him all of that money—and they certainly don’t want to give it without more changes to the immigration system. Their main focus right now is reforming a 2008 law that prevents the Department of Homeland Security from immediately returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries, as the agency can do with Mexican and Canadian minors. All children from other countries—including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, where most of these kids are from—must receive a hearing before an immigration court. Those can take years. The GOP proposal would give DHS the ability to immediately return these migrant children to their homeland.
Democrats generally oppose changing the 2008 law, because it could prevent minors who should qualify for asylum from receiving it. That doesn’t mean changes are totally off the table: The White House may support a deal that reforms the 2008 law in return for the emergency funds.
Congressional leaders have been negotiating. As usual, House Speaker John Boehner needs some Democratic votes (because some conservatives won’t vote for any immigration bill) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs some Republican votes (in order to overcome a filibuster). And it was never going to be easy. But on Thursday, Ted Cruz threatened to blow up the negotiations. He introduced legislation that would end Obama’s 2008 executive action—known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—that allowed children brought to the U.S. before 2007 to stay and work here legally. Republicans believe DACA is the cause of the recent surge in unaccompanied minors.
The claim is pretty shaky. Many other factors, including the 2008 law, violence in Honduras and El Salvador, and human traffickers spreading misinformation, have contributed to the crisis. That's one reason that congressional Democrats, much less the White House, will never agree to undo DACA. It’s a non-starter. If Republicans adopt Cruz’s proposal, it will destroy any chance of an agreement between the parties. Not that Cruz has ever done that before.
Things to know
CLIMATE: NOAA released its annual State of the Climate report. Here's a spoiler alert: It's still getting hotter. We already knew that, but there are also useful charts showing just how bad it is. (Tom Randall, Bloomberg)
BIRTH CONTROL: Companies that want to opt out of covering birth control in their insurance plans, following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, will have to be transparent about it, at least. (Laura Bassett, Huffington Post)
Food: National Geographic had photographers profile a few of the 48 million Americans who don't have enough food to eat.
Where are the workers: Zachary A. Goldfarb explains a new White House report on why the economy is recovering, but the labor force participation rate—the number of people who have jobs or want one out of the total population—is not rising. (Washington Post)
Things to watch
Foreign policy leads the day. But Congress is still trying to get a deal done on the border crisis.
Things at QED
Chris Christie gave Tesla a year reprieve from the ban on direct automobile sales. Do Republicans want to sue him?