The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Rep. Steve King defends controversial 'babies' tweet | Dems' secret weapon against GOP health plan? | New snowstorm forecast | Goodbye, ShopHouse

TALK OF THE MORNING -- KING SAY WHAAAAAAT?: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a conservative known for making inflammatory statements, came under fire this weekend for commentary he attached to a tweet about far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. King retweeted a post showing an image of Wilders plugging a hole in a wall labeled "Western Civilization" as bearded protesters behind him hold signs that say, "Infidels, Know Your Limits" and "Freedom of Speech Go To Hell." King then added: "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." He also said: "I'd like to see an America that's just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective."

UPDATE THIS MORNING -- NOT. BACKING. DOWN.: "Well, of course I meant exactly what I said," King told CNN's "New Day."

Tweet from colleague Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.): "Get a clue, Steve King. Diversity is our strength. All looking alike is such a waste. A travesty. I wanna be me. All others are taken."

Tweet from Jeb Bush: "America is a nation of immigrants. The sentiment expressed by Steve King doesn't reflect our shared history or values."

It's Monday, and a big snowstorm is coming tonight. D.C. may get its first meaningful snow day of this winter ... in March, one week before the official start of spring. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

LATEST STORM UPDATE: From Capital Weather Gang, "Driving wind, snow and whiteout conditions will smack the Northeast starting Monday night ... A blizzard warning has been issued for coastal areas from central New Jersey to Connecticut, including New York City and parts of Long Island ... Precipitation -- all kinds, including rain, sleet and snow -- will push into the Washington, D.C., region Monday evening, probably after rush hour. Light snow will arrive in Philadelphia and New York City by midnight, then Connecticut around 3 a.m." Expected snow by city --> 

HOW THIS COULD AFFECT CONGRESS THIS WEEK: From GOP leadership: "The Constitution requires that the House meet every three days, so we are preserving our options in the event that weather reports take a turn for the worse. We are monitoring the situation and will update members shortly regarding the vote schedule for the week." What changes today: The House will meet in a pro forma session at 12 p.m. EDT today.

DEMS HAVE A SECRET WEAPON FOR KILLING THE OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT: Via The Hill's Bob Cusack, the healthcare world is anticipating the cost estimate of House Republicans' controversial legislation by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). But here's what you should actually watch: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary may also be putting its own price tag on the measure. Why it's important: The CBO is Congress's official scorekeeper, but if the CMS puts out a similar analysis, it could help shield the non-partisan CBO from criticism. It is unclear if a score will emerge from the CMS, though it is entirely possible.

ODDS OF THE BILL PASSING: Here's each of the factors that will determine whether the Republican ObamaCare replacement plan will pass:

SHOT: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway suggested that the Trump campaign may have been monitored in "any number of ways." In an interview, she mentioned "microwaves that turn into cameras."

CHASER: Conway this morning: "Of course I don't have any evidence" of surveillance claims.

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS -- I SHALL SQUEEZE FRUIT AND IT SHALL INTIMIDATE YOU: Via The New York Times's Patrick Kingsley and Alissa J. Rubin, "Turkey's quarrel with Europe worsened over the weekend after the Turkish president accused the Dutch government of Nazism, and Turkish politicians were barred or disinvited from events in two European countries, amid tensions ahead of a tight referendum on a new Turkish Constitution." The part that's funny: "In a province west of the city, another crowd of protesters squeezed a series of oranges, in a theatrical gesture apparently intended to insult the Dutch, whose national color is orange."

SPOTTED WATCHING THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus was spotted at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., cheering her youngest son, who plays basketball at Northwestern University. Her Instagram photo:



TIME's Zeke Miller
Trump listening session participant holds up a card from his son. There's a note on the back. Photo: ​

The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone
Trump has unfollowed Joe and Mika on Twitter 



The Senate is in later today. The House meets pro forma. Congress's schedule this week:

Today–Sunday: The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Schedule:

Noon: The House meets pro forma due the potential snowstorm this week.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with his Cabinet.

4:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump signs an executive order, the "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch."

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes.

6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

This week: The Federal Reserve meets. "According to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, market expectations for a March rate hike stood at 93 percent."



1 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Live stream:

5:15 p.m. EDT: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee Doug Jones to oppose Haspel as CIA chief This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Utah) speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event on the division of congressional and executive powers. Live stream:



Today is National Coconut Torte Day!

GUYS, THIS IS HORRIBLE NEWS: Via Eater, Chipotle is shutting down all ShopHouse Asian Kitchen locations this Friday. "We now have a deal in place to sell the ShopHouse leases and believe that is the right decision at this time," Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold

FOOD DELIVERY ROBOTS ARE A THING NOW: The first fleet of food delivery robots has officially rolled out in Washington, D.C. "Initially a group of around 20 bots will make short deliveries--mostly under a mile--in the Georgetown and 14th Street corridor, with more neighborhoods to come in the near future." YAY! Photos:

And because you read this far, here's a puppy who is overwhelmed by all of her reflections:


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