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 HarrisSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly What's wrong with the Democratic Party? Just look at California Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census 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) SandersTrump: ‘Clapper has now admitted there was spying on my campaign’ Overnight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk 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 BidenBiden, Corker honored with Freedom House human rights awards What's wrong with the Democratic Party? Just look at California Progressive rise is good news for Sanders, Warren MORE will release a new book this fall. Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenRising star Abrams advances in Georgia governor race Progressive rise is good news for Sanders, Warren Juan Williams: Trump gives life to the left MORE (D-Mass.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy Ex-White House ethics counsel: More evidence against Trump than there ever was against Nixon 100 days after House passage, Gillibrand calls on Senate to act on sexual harassment reform 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 TillersonFive takeaways on the canceled Trump summit with Kim Dem lawmaker confronts Pompeo over spending cuts to diplomatic security GOP fundraiser subpoenas AP over source of leaked emails: report 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 MulvaneyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk OCC gives banks green light to offer short-term loans Dem lawmaker confronts Pompeo over spending cuts to diplomatic security 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 McCainSenate panel advances 6B defense policy bill McCain: Trump pardoning Jack Johnson 'closes a shameful chapter in our nation’s history' Trump pardons late boxing champion Jack Johnson 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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