The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

Sign up to receive the 12:30 Report right to your inbox: http://bit.ly/2kjMNnn 

--> 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: Senate GOP floats scaled-down healthcare bill | Manafort subpoenaed | Trump ramps up Sessions criticism | Collins on hot mic calls Farenthold 'so unattractive' | McCain returning to DC | Dogs dressed as sharks on Capitol Hill | Trump drawing up for auction

BREAKING -- SKINNY, FAT, TALL, SHORT, QUIET, LOUD -- WE'LL TAKE WHATEVER BILL WE CAN GET: Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, Senate Republicans have a new plan today to pass a "skinny" repeal of ObamaCare, which they think can get more Republican support. The plan: The scaled-down version of the bill would then set up negotiations in the House and move the effort along. What the "skinny bill" would do: It would likely just repeal ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax. http://bit.ly/2tGWFha

Could this pass?: It could. First, Senate Republicans need enough votes to open debate. However, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon: War in Afghanistan will cost billion in 2018 Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Rand Paul calls for punishment if Congress can't reach a long-term budget deal MORE (R-Ky.) is a yes on that vote, so the chances are looking better than they have in a while.

Lol, this made me laugh: From Time's Ryan Teague Beckwith: "Like a skinny latte, the skinny repeal also comes with no whip." Buh, dum, ptchhhhh. http://bit.ly/2gZIbmE

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: The motion to proceed needs the backing of 50 senators to pass -- assuming Vice President Pence breaks a tie -- and it will be close.

Live blog of updates: Keep checking this page today http://bit.ly/2tzOrDs

MCCAIN'S BACK FOR A NICE, QUIET, SLOW DAY: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Meghan McCain: Melania is 'my favorite Trump, by far' Kelly says Trump not likely to extend DACA deadline MORE (R-Ariz.) is returning to the Senate today after being diagnosed with brain cancer. What that means: It'll give the GOP's healthcare bill a boost of momentum. http://bit.ly/2vWcX2f

Too soon?: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) this morning called it "ironic" that McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, could vote in favor of the healthcare plan. "It's ironic he has a very severe health problem, and the McConnell bill would -- perhaps not for Sen. McCain or for me or for others -- would put at risk people who have such a serious illness," Hoyer said. http://bit.ly/2eKsOgW

It's a crazy Tuesday in D.C. --> http://bit.ly/2tzx3ia 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 cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

YIIIIKES -- HOT MICS ARE THE BEST MICS: Via The Hill's Niv Elis: Sen. Susan Collins was caught on a hot mic this morning talking about the looks of GOP Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill House to vote on sexual harassment overhaul this week This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown MORE (R-Texas), who a day earlier was quoted in a story blaming "some female senators from the Northeast" for the healthcare repeal impasse.

Sen. Collins to Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedWHIP LIST: Shutdown looms as Senate lacks votes to pass House spending bill Senators press Trump to boost school funding in infrastructure package Lawmakers, political figures share their New Year's resolutions for 2018 MORE"Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?"

Sen. Reed (D-R.I.): "Trust me, you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him."

Collins then brought up a picture of Farenthold that was taken at a fundraiser and showed him wearing duck-print pajamas and standing next to a lingerie model.

Collins: "He's so unattractive, it's unbelievable," Collins says. "Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny, playboy bunny?" 

Audio of the conversation -- it's cringeworthy --> http://bit.ly/2uW08rB

LATE THIS A.M. -- FREE ADVICE: DITCH THE RUSSIAN CURRENCY BEFORE YOU PAY FOR LUNCH AT SENATE CARRYOUT: The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to appear publicly before the committee. When: Tomorrow, nbd. What changed: It first appeared that the committee struck deals with attorneys representing Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. so they would not immediately subpoena then. However, the committee leaders now say they did not reach an agreement with Manafort. What the committee wants: A "voluntary transcribed interview." Full reasoning: http://bit.ly/2ux7Rd9

HAPPENING TODAY -- HOW THE GOP IS FEELING RIGHT NOW --> http://bit.ly/2v3UZyf NO, NO, NOT HEALTHCARE: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Scott Wong, the House is poised to pass legislation limiting the president's ability to unilaterally lift sanctions on Russia, which the Trump administration initially opposed. Why Trump is in a corner: He lacks the votes to block the bill, so he'll likely have to sign it. http://bit.ly/2vWi6Ht

NEW THIS A.M. -- WHITE HOUSE BRINGS IN 'JOE THE PLUMBER' TO STOP THE LEAKS: Politico's Tara Palmeri is reporting that the White House's new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, is dismissing assistant press secretary Michael ShortWhy: "Scaramucci warned that Short would be the first of many, if he's not able to stop the leaks coming out of the communications and press shop." Keep in mind about the White House comms shop: It's currently mostly former Republican National Committee staffers who are loyal to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who was previously chairman of the RNC. http://politi.co/2tzpx6P

Context from Politico's Jake Sherman: "Pretty odd Scaramucci thinks the leaks are in the press shop." http://bit.ly/2vFafPb

Tidbit from NBC's Nicolle Wallace: "Biggest change since Scaramucci was hired: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE tweets more/crazier stuff." http://bit.ly/2utZ9xU

OH, BUT WAIT -- THERE ARE CONFLICTING REPORTS: Michael Short told CNN that no one had informed him that he had lost his position. "No one has told me anything and the entire premise is false," Short said. And speaking to reporters later on the White House grounds, Scaramucci refused to say whether he fired Short. "It's an unfair thing for me to comment on," he said. http://bit.ly/2uVUZ2I

MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T GO ALL OUT ON TUX ALTERATIONS FOR THE WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS PARTY JUST YET...: President Trump ramped up his criticism of his attorney general, Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MOREEarly morning tweet: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts report Warner attempted to talk to dossier author Poll: Nearly half of Iowans wouldn’t vote for Trump in 2020 Rubio on Warner contact with Russian lobbyist: It’s ‘had zero impact on our work’ MORE crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" http://bit.ly/2utlJH6

Trump also laid into the acting FBI director: "Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!" http://bit.ly/2vFUmIs

Interesting question from The New York Times's Maggie Haberman: "Do the people who shouted 'ignore the tweets' and it's all a planned distraction still stand by that?" http://bit.ly/2uVTQbo

IMPORTANT READ -- WHY TRUMP OUSTING SESSIONS COULD HELP HIM OUT: Via The Washington Post's Sari Horwitz, Matt Zapotosky and Robert Costa, some Trump aides think replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be part of the long-term strategy to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and end the Russia-Trump investigation. 

-- Reasoning: "After Sessions recused himself, he passed on the responsibility to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller ... Trump could order Rosenstein -- and then Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand -- to fire Mueller. If they quit instead of doing so, he could appoint an acting attorney general who would. Trump could also appoint an acting attorney general with them in place -- effectively passing over Rosenstein and Brand -- and order that person to remove the special counsel." http://wapo.st/2vWJWn5



C-SPAN's Howard Mortman
Jared Kushner and brother Josh Kushner now tied with one speaking appearance each on C-SPAN... http://bit.ly/2utgzJJ

The Hill's Peter Sullivan (Womp.)
Metaphor alert? Dirksen subway is stopped in place. Photo: http://bit.ly/2uS748T

TMJ4's Charles Benson (Oooof.)
WH Comms Dir Anthony Scaramucci on what Pres Trump said [to] him about tweeting: "If I didn't have social media I'd be dead." http://bit.ly/2gZSCXl



The House and Senate are in.

Today: A vote to open debate on the healthcare bill. http://bit.ly/2uRpCpM

Noon: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks at The Economic Club of Washington. Details: http://bit.ly/2vAZwW1

12:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate's weekly caucus luncheons.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds meetings with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon.

2 p.m. EDT: Once the weekly luncheons are finished, the Senate will hold a roll call vote to open debate on the GOP healthcare bills.

3:45 p.m. EDT: FC Barcelona and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are hosting a briefing in the Rayburn building on Capitol Hill. Their cause: Promoting sports to keep children healthy and out of trouble.

4 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

6 p.m. EDT: IJR is hosting a happy hour to announce the winners of the "cutest dogs on the Hill" contest. Dogs are welcome! Invite: http://bit.ly/2uxupdR

8 a.m. EDT Wednesday: The Hill is hosting an event on prescription drugs, boosting patient outcomes and reining in healthcare spending. Reps. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerFox's Wallace: 'It's a mistake' for Dems to boycott State of the Union WHIP LIST: Dems boycotting Trump’s State of the Union Dem rep: I’m boycotting State of the Union because Trump’s ‘so hateful towards black people’ MORE (D-Ore.), Larry BucshonLarry Dean BucshonGOP lawmaker who treated train injuries discusses the accident Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moves US ‘toward single-payer’ The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ind.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) are among the speakers. Details: http://bit.ly/2gZDER6

End of the week: The August recess begins for the House. The Senate is expected to stick around for two more weeks.



3 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2gZbqpB

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in a salute to American heroes. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2eKt93c

7 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a "Make America Great Again" rally in Youngstown, Ohio. Livestream: http://cs.pn/2v4MLpV

3 p.m. EDT Wednesday: Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Hatch introduces bipartisan bill to clarify cross-border data policies MORE (D-R.I.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) speak at an American Enterprise Institute event about carbon taxes. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2utJMEf



Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. I.e.: the only glimpse of hope for humanity I can hold on to today.

WHO KNEW THE PRESIDENT WAS SUCH AN ARTIST?: Via The Hill's Judy Kurtz, a 2005 sketch drawn by President Trump of the New York City skyline is expected to fetch at least $9,000 at auction. http://bit.ly/2gXkNpT

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The release date has been set for the next James Bond movie. Don't get too excited: It's not until Nov. 8, 2019. http://bit.ly/2ur3Jgy

And because you are all my friends, here are dogs on Capitol Hill dressed up as sharks in honor of "Shark Week": http://bit.ly/2tzoqEh


To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here: http://bit.ly/1M1mIfw

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/1Tt4hqN