The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking - Pelosi calls for Conyers to resign | Trump reportedly eyes replacing Tillerson with Pompeo | McCain a yes on tax bill | Senate heads to tax vote-a-rama | GOP lawmaker won't seek reelection after nude photo leaks | Trump, Melania to light National Christmas Tree tonight | Budweiser trying to brew beer in space



Conyers not feeling the love from his party:

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections Overnight Health Care: Trump officials score a win against Planned Parenthood | Idaho residents to vote on Medicaid expansion | PhRMA, insurers weigh in on Trump drug pricing plan MORE (D-Calif.) and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) both just said that Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Portland activist stages ‘reparations happy hour’ Conyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father MORE (D-Mich.) should resign amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Keep in mind: This follows mounting pressure from House Democrats for Conyers to resign.

Pelosi's statement: "The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible.  It's very sad. The brave women who have come forward are owed justice. I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family, and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign."

Ryan's statement: "Yes, I think he should resign. He should resign immediately." Video of Ryan's reasoning:

Also chiming in: "Rep. Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Protests and anger: Washington in turmoil as elections near NYT editorial board: Time for some young Dem leaders Crowley stunner sets off new scramble among House Dems MORE, highest-ranking African-American Democrat in Congress, calls for John Conyers to resign." (From Politico's John Bresnahan)

JUST NOW -- Conyers isn't going down without a fight:

Arnold Reed, an attorney for Rep. Conyers just addressed the calls for the congressman to resign. "First of all, it is not up to Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman, and she sure as hell won't be the one to tell the congressman to leave," Reed said.  On an accuser: "When you accept $20,000 for the sheer hell you claim you have been through, that is a testament to whether or not her veracity is where it should be with these allegations," Reed added.

Keep in mind from earlier today -- Rep. Conyers is hospitalized for stress:

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who is embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal and stepped down earlier this week as the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, is hospitalized in his home state due to stress. A Conyers consultant told WDIV TV: "I just spoke with Monica Conyers on the phone and we want you to know that the congressman is resting comfortably in an area hospital. He's doing OK, as well as he can be expected for a gentleman that's approaching 90 years of age. ... The congressman's health is not what it should be and lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault."

It's Thursday -- you've got thiiiiiis. 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 and on Facebook.



Let the games begin!:

Yesterday, the Senate voted to begin debate on its tax cut bill as they seek to finish the chamber's work on the tax plan by the end of the week. A little victory for Republicans: Senators voted 52-48 start debate. No Republicans voted against proceeding to debate, a huge accomplishment for GOP leaders who struggled earlier this year to corral their members around legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. What to know about the Senate debate: The Senate is taking up the House-passed legislation, which is being used as a vehicle for the Senate bill.

Tidbit about today's timing: "Senate will resume burning off 20 hrs of debate on tax bill later today. [Amendment] votes and 'vote-a-rama' (where the Senate votes for hrs on end) could come tonight, overnight or tomorrow." (From Fox's Chad Pergram)

BREAKNG-- another yes vote:

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report GOP lawmaker renews call for Trump to release tax returns after Putin summit House conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor MORE (R-Ariz.) just said that he will support Senate Republicans' tax plan. Why this is big: It's a boost for Republicans. McCain's no vote tanked the ObamaCare repeal effort in July. His statement: "After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families."

Current vote count: Here's The Hill's Whip List. Keep checking this page as the vote count shifts:

We've entered the 'pinky promise' stage in negotiations:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) is promising the GOP tax bill, which is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, will not result in cuts to Medicare next year. Why he made the promise: McConnell made the promise to sway Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Maine), a key swing vote. How McConnell would follow through: He said that he would stop an automatic spending cut to Medicare next year that is required by the "pay as you go" budgetary rule.

Little bit of insight from Collins: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said this morning that she expects legislation to lower health insurance premiums to pass Congress before senators take a final vote on a $1.5 trillion tax reform bill that would repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate.



We fought them once and I think we can all agree we're better as allies:

Kim Darroch, the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States, has said that he raised concerns with the White House over President Trump's sharing of videos claiming to show violence committed by Muslims. Darroch tweeted: "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right, which seek to divide communities & erode decency, tolerance & respect. British Muslims are peaceful and law abiding citizens. And I raised these concerns with the White House yesterday."

WHAT SPARKED ALL OF THIS: Yesterday, President Trump retweeted controversial anti-Muslim videos that were originally shared by Jayda Fransen, a leader of the ultranationalist group Britain First who was once convicted of harassing a Muslim.

THEN THERESA MAY STEPPED IN: British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned President Trump's decision to share the videos. From a May spokesman: "British people overwhelming reject the prejudice rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents; decency, tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the president to have done this." However: May would not revoke Trump's invitation to visit Britain.

AND THEN TRUMP FIRED BACK: Trump urged May to focus on terrorism rather than on him. He tweeted: "Theresa May, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!"



It's been a fun run, Rex:

Via The New York Times's Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, "The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Pence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE, the C.I.A. director, perhaps within the next several weeks, senior administration officials said on Thursday." Who would take over the CIA?: Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (R-Ark.) would replace Pompeo. Cotton has signaled he would accept the job.

TILLERSON WAS JUST SPOTTED AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Trump  ducked questions about whether he is preparing to force Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonUS steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer 'Daily Show' trolls Trump over Pruitt's resignation MORE out as secretary of State. "He's here. Rex is here," Trump told reporters who asked if he still wants Tillerson on the job. Trump said this during a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain.


Via Dallas News's Katie Leslie, Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonLatina Leaders to Watch 2018 Unending Pruitt controversies leave Republicans frustrated Hillicon Valley: Judge rules Trump can't block Twitter users | ISIS content finds a home on Google Plus | Rubio rips ZTE demands as 'terrible deal' | Bill would protect kids' data MORE (R-Texas) will not run for re-election. Timing: This is three weeks after he said he would run for an 18th term. Why: Barton's private life has been in the spotlight since sexual images of an extramarital relationship were made public.  In his words: "I've always listened to people in Texas and worked for them in Washington, and I've been listening to a lot of people the last week in Texas," he said. "...There are enough people who lost faith in me that it's time to step aside and let there be a new voice for the 6th district in Washington, so I am not going to run for re-election."



Matt Lauer apologizes:

Matt Lauer this morning apologized after he was fired from NBC News in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Excerpt of his statement: "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC." On some of the allegations: Lauer said in the statement that some of the claims are "untrue or mischaracterized."

Read his full apology:

Senate women: Not today. NOT TODAY.:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, women in the Senate, who number 21 out of 100, say the Senate's rules for preventing sexual harassment were written to protect men and need to be changed as soon as possible. What happens to Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Franken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE (D-Minn.) -- or Republican candidate Roy Moore, who is leading the Alabama Senate race -- will be left to the Ethics panel and could take months to resolve. But in the short term, women in the Senate want to take quick action and fire a warning shot at colleagues and senior staff who they feel face little accountability for harassing behavior under the current rules. Statements from Senate women in both parties



The Hill has launched a new series of podcasts featuring Alexis Simendinger, Niv Elis, Reid Wilson, lawmakers and Hill reporters. Here’s this morning’s HillCast AM View : Booming economy may not yield results GOP is hoping for.

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The House is in. The Senate is in debating the GOP tax plan.

11 a.m. EST: President Trump meets with the Crown Prince of Bahrain.

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

5 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.

5 p.m. EST Friday: The inaugural tree lighting at the new D.C. Wharf. Details:



2 p.m. EST: A House subcommittee is holding a hearing on online sex trafficking. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the daily press briefing. Livestream:

5 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Livestream:



Today is National Mousse Day.

Does anyone else think this is an incredible amount of effort for beer?:

Via Time, Budweiser is making its first steps in trying to brew beer in space. Their ultimate goal is to brew beer on Mars. I'm not kidding. How they plan to do this -- yes, there's a plan:

And because you made it to the end, here's a kitten trying its absolute hardest to be gentle with a bird:

How I imagine this bird talking itself through the situation: 'I'm on a beach. A nice, warm, SAFE beach.'


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