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: Harvey latest – Freedom Caucus chair says don't tie flood aid to debt ceiling | Pence heads to Texas | Fires at flooded chemical plant | Five public health threats facing Houston | Book tours test ground for 2020 | Sanders to visit NH on Labor Day | Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJones raised 0K a day after first Moore accusers came forward: report Worst engineering failure in U.S. history made us safer Conservatives fear end-of-year ‘Christmas tree’ spending bill MORE backs single-payer healthcare bill | Woman learns she's a hurricane meme

THE NEXT FIGHT TO EXPECT -- HARVEY RELIEF VS. DEBT CEILING: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, says aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey should not be part of a vehicle to raise the debt ceiling. "The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate," he said an interview with The Washington Post, signaling agreement with Trump on the approach. The catch: Congress needs to raise the debt limit and pass a government spending bill by the end of September. Combining those measure and tying in Harvey relief could make it harder for members to vote against. Scenarios:

TGI(almost)F. 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.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off tomorrow and Monday for the long weekend. Don't let things get too out of hand while I'm gone, OK?!


EXPLOSIONS IN HOUSTON -- SO WHAT'S THE DEAL?: Two explosions were reported and black smoke seen rising from Arkema, Inc., a chemical plant. From Harris County police: "One deputy taken to hospital after inhaling fumes from Archem plant in Crosby. 9 others drove themselves to hospital as precaution."

Ya, but wait...: Officials in Texas pushed back on reports of explosions. "There was a release -- we had chemical reaction," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. "This event had been expected and planned." What he said happened: Organic peroxides of different grades were released, creating "a pop in the containers where they were being stored." "Some gray smoke initially emanated from it and eventually turned into black smoke," he said. "It is not anything toxic. It is not anything we feel is a danger to the community at all."

Ummmm, this quote: From a spokesperson for Arkema: "It's misleading to say it was an explosion. It was an overpressurizatiom [sic] that was followed by a fire." (from The Houston Chronicle's Keri Blakinger)


Yikes: An elderly man was trapped in his SUV during the floods, so a group of people formed a human chain to rescue him. Video:

Wow, this line: "This is Houston. Wanna know what this line is for? Food? Water? Housing? Nope. These people are waiting in line TO VOLUNTEER." Photo:

These poor people: Via The Washington Post, "They had to swim to the fire hydrant. Fighting a house fire in Houston floods." Video:

How the rescues have been happening: "People in Houston turned to social media for rescue. Here's where most of the city's posts were coming from:" Graphic:

Next steps in Houston: Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan and Nathaniel Weixel, the dangers in Texas go beyond the rising waters, as the storm brings an array of public health dangers, from mosquitoes to mold. Here are five public health threats facing Houston:

BERNIE TO KAMALA -- YOU'VE GOT A FRIEEEND IN ME Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that she would co-sponsor Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE's (I-Vt.) single-payer health insurance bill. Name: "Medicare for All" bill. Keep in mind: The decision to co-sponsor Sanders's bill is the first time Harris has publicly supported single-payer.

SO THEY'RE RUNNING?!: Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, book tours are testing the grounds for the 2020 presidential race. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenObama tweets birthday message to Biden: 'The best vice president anybody could have' The Hill's 12:30 Report Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny MORE will release a new book this fall. Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCordray's legacy of consumer protection worth defending Booker tries to find the right lane  Jones raised 0K a day after first Moore accusers came forward: report MORE (D-Mass.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenReport: Conyers settled wrongful dismissal complaint over 'sexual advances' Arianna Huffington denies Franken behaved inappropriately in response to new photos Right way and wrong way MORE (D-Minn.) have also released books this year, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came out with a book this month. How this could play out:

REX TILLER–WHAAA? Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant, "after appearing sidelined for months, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump will declare North Korea a state sponsor of terror Tillerson condemns violence against LGBT people on Transgender Day of Remembrance MORE has shown a more independent streak in recent weeks, asserting authority over an agency targeted for budget cuts by President Trump and suffering from low morale."



The Daily Dot
After Harvey hits, woman realizes she's the person behind infamous meme:

Wired's Ashley Feinberg
i found an amazon wishlist connected directly to gorka's email and full of things gorka likes and yet. Screenshot response from Gorka:



Congress -- still out.

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyCordray's legacy of consumer protection worth defending Mulvaney: Pass-through entities need to be addressed in tax reform Mulvaney: Accusations against Moore 'credible' MORE.

This weekend: Here are seven food events in D.C. for Labor Day Weekend:

Monday: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is holding two events in New Hampshire.

Next week: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Ad encourages GOP senator to vote 'no' on tax bill MORE (R-Ariz.) is scheduled to return to Washington, D.C., after undergoing his first round of chemotherapy to treat brain cancer.

Sept. 6: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is scheduled to return to Congress.



12:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence tour Rockport, Texas, and meet with Hurricane Harvey survivors. Livestream:

1:30 p.m. EDT: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) holds a press briefing on the storm. Livestream:

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks with reporters in Corpus Christi, Texas. Livestream:



Today is National Trail Mix Day.

GET OUT YOUR SCHOOL PRIDE SWEATSHIRTS!: Here's a list of the 17 colleges with the best food:

LOL, WUUUUUT?: Via Washingtonian, "The National Zoo Is Now Home to Two Screaming Hairy Armadillos, Possibly the Best-Named Species Ever" Photo:

And because you made it this far, here's an adorable reunion of an elephant family:


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