The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Congress is back | Bannon pick alarms rights groups | Obama to hold presser | DC's most powerful odd couple | Biden memes | 'Beauty and the Beast' trailer | National Pickle Day

NEWS OF THE MORNING -- NOPE, NO CONTROVERSY HERE, LOOK THE OTHER WAY: Over the weekend, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff (not surprising) and former Breitbart editor Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist. Well, civil rights advocates and critics on both sides of the aisle (!) are expressing alarm over Bannon's new post. Why: They claim Bannon has embraced white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Bannon has even proudly adopted the leadership mantle of the nationalist "alt-right." Here's why some groups are worried a white nationalist may be in the White House (I can't believe I just typed that):

TO THE RESCUE: Priebus defended Bannon on the morning shows, saying "that's not the Steve Bannon I know." He added that Bannon is "very, very smart, very temperate, and together we've been able to manage a lot of the decision making in regard to the campaign."

AND ANOTHER!: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) repeatedly defended President-elect Donald Trump's decision to pick Bannon on Monday. "The president-elect always gets to pick his team going forward," McCarthy said during a combative meeting with reporters.

BUT IT'S NOT ALL RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES FROM REPUBLICANS: GOP pundit Ana Navarro tweeted: "Oh, hell! White supremacist, anti gay, anti Semite, vindictive, scary-ass dude named Senior Strategist. After vomiting, be afraid, America."

It's Monday, and Congress is finally back for the first time since the elections. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to, @CateMartel and on Facebook.


WASHINGTON'S POWER/ODD COUPLE: It's safe to say President-elect Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal Pelosi, Schumer say White House declined T coronavirus deal COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance MORE (R-Ky.)weren't the best of friends during the campaign. McConnell distanced himself from the controversial GOP nominee, while Trump viewed McConnell as the epitome of an establishment Republican. Personality wise, they are on opposite sides of the spectrum. But now with a slim Senate majority, they need to pair up and move an ambitious agenda. How it'll go down:

THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS -- DON'T FREAK OUT, BUT THE LIST IS QUITE EXTENSIVE: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, this year's lame-duck session could be one of the lamest in years. Why: Republicans will want to punt a lot of big items until after Trump is sworn in. But there's still a lot to do. Thanksgiving break is next week, then the government runs out of funding on Dec. 9. What's on tap:

House leadership elections: House Republicans hold leadership elections tomorrow. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey Democratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' MORE (R-Wis.) and his three top deputies are considered safe. House Democrats vote Thursday. No one is challenging Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) or Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). 

Senate leadership elections: Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period A three-trillion dollar stimulus, but Charles Schumer for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production MORE (D-N.Y.) is expected to become minority leader, but there's a fight for the caucus's No. 2 spot. Senate Republicans are expected to keep their current leadership team. 

Funding the government: Most likely, an omnibus appropriations package will be negotiated with President Obama by or around the Dec. 9 deadline. However, some conservatives are calling for a short-term spending bill to last until Trump is sworn in. 

Freshman orientation: "Newly elected members of the House and Senate will arrive in Washington for the first time this week for freshman orientation. They'll participate in leadership elections for the new Congress, along with more mundane tasks like the office lottery." 

WHAT DO YOU MEAN DENIS ISN'T STAYING ON?!?! WHAT ABOUT VALERIE -- CAN WE KEEP VALERIE?: Via The Wall Street Journal's Michael C. Bender and Carol E. Lee, Trump's aides apparently didn't know the entire West Wing staff had to be hired. Also, Obama realized during their meeting that Trump needs more guidance and will help him out more than usual:

"During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama's term.

"After meeting with Mr. Trump, the only person to be elected president without having held a government or military position, Mr. Obama realized the Republican needs more guidance. He plans to spend more time with his successor than presidents typically do, people familiar with the matter said."

OH TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL DURING A LATE-NIGHT DRUNK UBER RIDE: Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) worked as an Uber driver this past weekend in an effort to work "alongside and for Nebraskans." The tweets are hilarious:

NEW SHOES, CHECK! NEW BACKPACK, CHECK! Today is new member check-in on Capitol Hill. It legitimately looks like first day of school:



The Hill's Sarah Ferris
[HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews] Burwell just did the dab on stage at the White House. Twice.

The Washington Post's Radley Balko (Lol, this is an amazing sign.)
A nation in crisis finds its hero.



Today -- tomorrow: The Wall Street Journal CEO Council holds its 2016 U.S. annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Today–tomorrow: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants holds its 2016 National Tax Conference in Washington, D.C.

12:30 p.m. EST: The RNC holds a press briefing to discuss last week's results. It will air on C-SPAN 2. 

1 p.m. EST: First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates warn girls' education at risk due to pandemic Michelle Obama on depression: 'I'm doing just fine' MORE speaks at the White House's Veterans Homelessness Summit.

2 p.m. EST: The House meets for the first time since the election.

3 p.m. EST: Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro speak with White House chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughSusan Rice calls for Flynn-Kislyak transcripts to be released GOP seeks to go on offense using Flynn against Biden Tucker Carlson: Flynn case was domestic spying operation 'hidden under the pretext of national security' MORE at the Veterans Homelessness Summit. 

3:15 p.m. EST: President Obama holds a press conference before he leaves for his final foreign trip as president.

5 p.m. EST: First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden speak at the Joining Forces Celebration.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate meets pro forma.

6:20 p.m. EST: President Obama leaves Joint Base Andrews en route to Athens, Greece.

6:30 p.m. EST: The House votes on a series of suspension bills.



Today is National Pickle Day and National Spicy Guacamole Day!

TRENDING -- JOHN OLIVER ISN'T OVER IT: While many pundits and politicians are encouraging people to give Donald Trump a chance as president, HBO's John Oliver is scared out of his mind. I know I keep saying this, but it's such a poetic ending to their election-long feud.

RELEASED TODAY -- 'TALE AS OLD AS TIIIIIIME': Disney released the first official trailer for the live-action "Beauty and the Beast." Counting down the days!

BECAUSE WE COULD ALL USE A GOOD LAUGH ON A MONDAY: Memes of Vice President Biden plotting White House pranks have been going viral. Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny:

Example from @jbillinson:
Biden: "I left a Kenyan passport in your desk, just to f*** with him"
Obama: "Joe"
Biden: "Oh and a prayer rug in your bedroom. He's gonna lose it!"
Obama: "Dammit Joe"

And because I kept you this long, this is what a pelican looks like when it yawns. You're welcome.



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