The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Michigan gov, EPA chief testify on Flint | Lawmakers' March Madness picks | Black Lives Matter backs Apple in FBI fight | Rubio returns to Senate

THAT'S A ROUGH ADMISSION: Via The Hill's Timothy Cama, In a rare congressional appearance from a sitting governor, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) told House lawmakers he feels remorse for his role in causing the contamination of Flint's drinking water with lead and other pollutants. "Let me be blunt. This was a failure of government at all levels," Snyder told the House Oversight Committee. "Local, state and federal officials -- we all failed the families of Flint." Also, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee urged Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyHow Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor GOP: EPA is violating court hold on climate rule MORE, also testifying, to resign over the water crisis.

THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, YA KNOW: White House press secretary Josh Earnest slammed the Republican Party, attributing Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJimmy Carter: Trump 'tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism' Roger Stone looking into creating pro-Trump nonprofit: report Wesley Clark: 'No one knows' what Trump stands for MORE rise to the party's obstructionism during Obama's term. "Essentially, when you have congressional Republicans, Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. that don't stand for something, Republican voters across the country are in a position where they're going to fall for anything," Earnest said during an event sponsored by The Hill. "In this case they've fallen for Donald Trump."

-- He added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP mired in Zika dispute Judge Merrick Garland and the rise of super-PACs McConnell sets up vote to begin debate on defense policy bill MORE (R-Ky.) would probably agree that many of Trump's policy proposals are inconsistent with Republican values.

PELOSI: Other notable moments: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told The Hill's Bob Cusack, discussing the GOP presidential debates: "I've never seen a debate that's so void of fact," and that "Republican [presidential] candidates are a reflection of the Republicans in Congress -- not Republicans in the country."


DEVELOPING NOW – EXPLOSION AT THE NATIONAL ZOO: Via WJLA-TV, An explosion occurred on the American Trail at the Smithsonian's National Zoo this morning. No animals, visitors or staff were injured – and The D.C. Fire Department is investigating.

Top o' the morning to you, lads, and happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm Cate O'Martel (sorry, I had to) with an Irish-themed recap of what you missed this morning -- and what's 'on tap' for the rest of the day. Send comments, story ideas and Irish soda bread (yes, literal soda bread would be great) ;) to and on Facebook.

AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE: Via The Hill's Cory Bennett, the Black Lives Matter movement is lining up behind Apple in its fight with the FBI. Back story: Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights activists have met with Apple officials about the court order forcing Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Why BLM is getting involved: They believe the cases touch on concerns about police brutality and illegal surveillance of activists. 

GARLAND'S HOPING FOR SOME LUCK O' THE IRISH: Via The Hill's Alex Bolton, now that President Obama has tapped Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, the election-year nomination fight has commenced. What has happened so far: Senate Republicans immediately ruled out any action on Garland. Except... Seven GOP senators said they were willing to meet with Garland, including Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanJuan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE (Ohio) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteVA secretary comes under fire for comparing wait times to Disneyland Juan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE (N.H.), who are each facing tough reelection races.

And here's why Obama picked Garland: Think: He played it safe

Tweet from The Hill's Alex Bolton: Reid says "of course it's possible" that Garland could be confirmed in the lame duck but adds it would set a bad precedent.

ABOUT THAT BUDGET...: Via The Hill's Sarah Ferris, who was in the room, the House budget panel easily cleared its 2017 spending blueprint last night, despite a conservative rebellion that still threatens the bill's fate. How so: All but two Republicans on the House Budget Committee voted to send the bill to the floor. But don't get too excited: When it hits the House floor, it's likely doomed because of resistance from fiscal hawks.

RUBIO IN DA HOUSE... I MEAN, SENATE: Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioNorth Korean official calls Trump idea of meeting 'nonsense' Senate candidate taunts Sanders: Why don't you endorse Alan Grayson? Carson: 'I would not want to be on the ticket or in the Cabinet’ MORE (R-Fla.) returned to the Senate today after ending his presidential campaign. Alex Burgos, a spokesman for Rubio, posted a video of the senator walking in the Russell Office building, adding that "Senate staff welcomed him back to the office." The video shows Rubio's staff clapping as he walked toward his office. Watch:

AN IRISH TIDBIT: Via The Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey, a man's discovery of bones under a pub in Ireland could forever change what we know about the Irish.



President Obama has picked Kansas to win March Madness. Full bracket: 
• Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanWhy didn’t Republicans invite the IG to the IRS hearings? Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal GOP mired in Zika dispute MORE (R-Wis.) has picked Michigan State University.
• Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneOvernight Tech: Facebook finds no bias but vows to change trending feature Facebook: Trending feature may have favored mainstream media Wireless data use more than doubled in 2015, industry survey says MORE (R-S.D.) is deciding between Iowa and Temple. Full bracket:
• Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) has Michigan State winning. Full bracket: 
• Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineReid throws wrench into Clinton vice presidential picks Republicans sue to stop felons from voting in Virginia Reid: 'Hell no' to VP pick from state with a Republican governor MORE (D-Va.) has chosen the University of Virginia. Makes sense. Full bracket: 
• Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) has Villanova winning. Full bracket: 
• Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has picked the University of Miami. Also, duh. Full bracket: 
• Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) can't decide between Duke and the University of North Carolina, so he's going to root for "the team in blue." Well, that's diplomatic. Full bracket: 
• Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) won't reveal but said he'll post his pick later today. Boo, no fun.
• Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) has chosen The University of Maryland. 
• Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) chose Michigan State. 
• Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) picked The University of Kentucky. Full bracket:
• Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has the University of North Carolina winning. 



Shawn McCoy of Inside Sources (He then tweeted this article a few minutes later. This tweet has been destroyed on Twitter.)

DC RESIDENTS: Do not drink your tap water. Story breaking soon.

The Hill's Timothy Cama

Looks like this is on the House side ...

Politico's Burgess Everett

Reid says he'll take plenty of questions. "We have a lot of time to do nothing in the Senate'

The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery retweeted adding: Reid, retiring and agitated: ¯\_(")_/¯

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) (awww!)

#ThrowbackThursday to when [Butler University's mascot] Butler Blue visited my DC office.



Most candidates are having a light day today after Super Tuesday 3.0. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders aide: We're trying to open party to 'new blood' Sanders to Larry David: 'I want you to keep your job' Clinton allies blame Bernie for bad polls MORE is the only candidate with a public event today. As for the rest, maybe they're kicking back with a Guinness? 

10:15 a.m.–1 p.m. EDT: The House votes. They will then split for the weekend.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Obama participates in a conference call on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation process.

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate will vote on whether to hold online classifieds site in contempt for refusing to respond to a subpoena. Lawmakers are looking into the site in a probe on sex trafficking. They are in session tomorrow, but then will head out for a two-week recess. Spring Break 2016!

10 p.m. EDT: Bernie Sanders holds a town hall in Flagstaff, Ariz.



Today is National "Eat Like an Irishman" Day! Festive. I like it. 

LOOKING FOR A FUN WAY TO WASTE YOUR TAX RETURN?: Here are some new super soakers that shoot out champagne. Yes, bottles of champagne. They've been the hit of Twitter.

GET SOME BANGERS AND MASH & ERIN GO BRAGH!: For everyone who wants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day after work today (which should mean everyone!), here are a list of Irish celebrations in D.C. today. Specifically, Irish dancers, happy hours and fancy sandwiches.

TARZAN, BACK IN OUR LIVES: A new "Tarzan" trailer has been released for the movie coming out in July. Exciting!

AGAIN, THIS IS EMBARASSING, AMERICA!: Jimmy Kimmel proved that Americans know very little about the Supreme Court -- and can name more judges from 'America's Got Talent' than judges in the Supreme Court. Sigh.

And in the spirit of St. Paddy's Day, here's a 6-month-old who was turned into a leprechaun. The photos are hilarious. 


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