News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
From The Guardian
North Korea has continued to upgrade its only known nuclear reactor used to fuel its weapons program, satellite imagery has shown, despite ongoing negotiations with the US and a pledge to denuclearise.
Infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon nuclear plant are “continuing at a rapid pace”, according to an analysis by monitoring group 38 North of commercial satellite images taken on 21 June.
The cooling system for the plutonium production reactor has been modified and at least two new non-industrial buildings have been built on the site, possibly for use by visiting officials. A new engineering office building has been completed and construction has continued on support facilities throughout the complex, according to a blog post written by Frank V Pabian, Joseph S Bermudez Jr and Jack Liu.
From The Hill
The House rejected a Republican compromise bill on immigration Wednesday in a worse-than-expected 121-300 vote, effectively ending a months-long GOP drama that had put the conference’s internal politics on display.
The measure won far fewer GOP votes than a more hard-line measure rejected last week in a 193-231 vote.
Only 121 Republicans backed it, compared to 193 for the earlier measure. Two Republicans did not cast votes on Wednesday, while 112 Republicans voted against it.
Votes on the bill were twice postponed to give Republicans more time to win support for the measure, which was opposed by Democrats.
With President Donald Trump threatening hefty tariffs on cars and SUVs imported into the U.S., automakers are warning him it would cost consumers thousands of dollars and ultimately lead to job cuts.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing domestic and foreign automakers with plants in the U.S., predicts the average price of a new vehicle will increase $5,800 if the president imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported models. That would amount to a $45 billion tax on the auto industry, according to the trade group.
“Tariffs will lead to increased producer costs, increased producer costs will lead to increased vehicle costs, increased vehicle costs will lead to fewer sales and less tax receipts, fewer sales will lead to fewer jobs, and those fewer jobs will significantly impact many communities and families across the country,” the alliance warned in a letter Wednesday to the Commerce Department.
From The Hill
Almost one-third of registered Democratic voters back former Vice President Joe Biden for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, making him the front-runner in a new poll provided exclusively to The Hill.
Biden is the clear leader in Harvard CAPS/Harris’s June poll with support from 32 percent of Democrats polled. Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee, finished second with 18 percent of the vote, while her 2016 primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sits in third with 16 percent.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only other candidate to poll in double digits, with 10 percent of those surveyed backing her.
A judge in California has ordered U.S. border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days.
If the children are younger than 5, they must be reunified within 14 days of the order, issued Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued the order in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The lawsuit involves a 7-year-old girl who was separated from her Congolese mother and a 14-year-old boy who was separated from his Brazilian mother.
Sabraw also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit.
From The Hill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday came to the defense of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, saying individuals should “have the right to go into a restaurant and have dinner.”
The Vermont senator made the comments while speaking on MSNBCabout the recent uptick in public confrontations Trump Cabinet officials have faced. On Friday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a small Virginia restaurant because of her role in the administration.
In addition, protesters confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s border policies.
“I’m not a great fan of shouting down people or being rude to people,” Bernie Sanders said. “People have a right to be angry when Congress gives tax breaks to billionaires and then wants to cut nutrition programs for low income pregnant women.”
But he said that anger needs to be taken out in a “constructive way” and that people should not be kicked out of restaurants over political differences.
From The Hill
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) isn’t apologizing for retweeting a prominent far-right British activist who has described himself as a “Nazi sympathizer.”
King told CNN on Tuesday that retweeting a message from Mark Collett, the former chairman of the youth division of the British National Party (BNP) and well-known far-right activist, was “unintentional,” but wouldn’t say he was sorry for sharing the tweet.
“I had never heard his name before, and I don’t know why anybody would ever know his name, for that matter,” King said. “I think it’s really unjust for anyone to assign the beliefs of someone else because there’s a message there among all of that. I mean, it’s the message, not the messenger.”
From The Hill
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official who first raised alarms about Secretary Ben Carson‘s redecorating expenses has reportedly resigned in protest.
Helen Foster, a senior career official at HUD, announced her decision in a letter written to Carson and HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude,according to the Washington Post. In the letter, Foster claims Carson and Patenaude demoted her and accused her of being a liar because she criticized the agency’s expenses that went toward redecoration.
She also alleges that $10 million in taxpayer funds were “grossly mismanaged.”
“Even though I reported all of these issues appropriately, through the HUD chain of command, and with documentation, I was demoted into a made-up ‘do-nothing’ job with no duties or responsibilities by your direct reports,” Foster wrote. “A full year has [passed] since, and I remain in the same spurious position with no official duties.”