12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — All eyes on Biden’s Saudi Arabia visit

President Biden
AP/Evan Vucci
U.S. President Biden gives his remarks after his visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital in east Jerusalem, Friday, July 15, 2022. Biden is making a stop at the hospital in east Jerusalem, after the Trump administration cut funds to the facility.

To view past editions of The Hill’s 12:30 Report, click here: https://bit.ly/30ARS1U 

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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. 


Live look at Democrats watching Biden in Saudi Arabia:

“Democratic senators are raising concerns over President Biden’s scheduled meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and urging the president to confront the Saudi leader about his alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” 

Is Biden planning on asking MBS about Khashoggi?: The White House won’t say.  

From Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “We need to meet with Saudi Arabia, he shouldn’t meet with MBS. That’s my strong belief. … That doesn’t mean he couldn’t meet with the king, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t meet with the foreign minister, other officials. But I would not meet with MBS, the guy still has blood on his hands from the murder of a Washington Post journalist who lived in Virginia, who has family in Virginia. There hasn’t been accountability for it.”  

Republicans’ criticism of the visit: “Republicans are criticizing Biden for asking the Saudis to release more oil into the international markets amid high inflation and expensive gas prices.”  

What to expect during Biden’s visit, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton 

Video from C-SPAN 


1. Will Biden raise Khashoggi’s murder with MBS?

2. Will Biden and MBS shake hands? 

3. Will Biden make progress on oil? 

4. What are the prospects of normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel? 

5. Iran closely watching U.S. and Saudi meeting 

Context and details for each, from The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, Laura Kelly and Rachel Frazin

IT’S FRIDAY! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

🏥 In Congress 

Another ticket item: chopped:

Key centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday that he will not support a budget reconciliation bill if it includes climate change proposals or new taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations.  

So, what ~would~ Manchin support?: Lowering prescription drug prices and a two-year extension of health insurance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. 

What changed since last week?: “Manchin has backed away from a commitment he made privately to Schumer last week to close a tax loophole on wealthy individuals and couples who earn more than $400,000 and $500,000 annually in pass-through income. That revenue would have been used to extend the solvency of Medicare’s hospital trust fund by three years to 2031.”  

The dilemma for Democrats: Either agreeing to Manchin’s demands and pass a slimmed-down version of the bill — or continue negotiating with Manchin. 

How this could play out, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton 

From The New York Times’s Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman 

Announced this morning — House Democrats are voting on an assault weapons ban

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced this morning that House Democrats will begin to move an assault weapons ban through his committee.  

Those who oppose a ban on assault weapons: “Those firearms rank among the most popular in the country, and opponents of the ban — including all but a handful of Republicans — say it would trample on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”  

Those who support a ban: “Supporters counter that the Constitution, written in an age of single-shot muzzle loaders, was not intended to apply to much more powerful and efficient weapons, especially since they’ve been the popular choice of perpetrators in countless mass shootings over the past decade.” 

Keep in mind: Even if this bill made it to the floor for a House vote, it would only be a symbolic vote. There is not enough support to make this law.


🔎 Jan. 6 

I would watch the heck out of a future HBO documentary on all of this

The U.S. Secret Service deleted text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, and the day prior.  

How we know: The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security told lawmakers. 

The Secret Service’s reasoning for deleting the texts: “as part of a device-replacement program.”  

The Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein first reported the news. Read the initial report 

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump runs through the data and provides his analysis of what disproving the conspiracy theory would potentially require.

🗳 On the campaign trail 

Gen Z isn’t thrilled with Biden

Via The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Morgan Chalfant, “President Biden is facing a disaster with young voters, increasing fears among Democrats that they are in danger of losing a generation if he doesn’t improve his standing with Generation Z.”  

Yikes: “A New York Times-Siena College poll this week found 94 percent of Democratic primary voters ages 18 to 29 saying the party should nominate someone other than Biden in 2024.” How this could play out 

Read Niall Stanage’s column in The Hill

🦠 Latest with COVID 


Cases to date: 88.9 million 

Death toll: 1,018,035 

Current hospitalizations: 33,742 

Shots administered: 599 million 

Fully vaccinated: 67.1 percent of Americans 

CDC data 

🐥Notable tweets 

This is a pretty funny use of campaign funds:

Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Fetterman enlisted “Jersey Shore” reality star Nicole “Snooki” LaValle to record a Cameo video directed at Republican nominee Mehmet Oz. 

From Snooki: “I heard that you moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to look for a new job, and personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to leave Jersey, because it’s like the best place ever, and we’re all hot messes.” Watch the full 47-second Snooki Cameo 

What is Cameo?: A platform for fans to request personalized videos from celebrities at whatever rates each celeb sets.  

What did this cost the campaign?: “Am told by a Fetterman adviser that the Snooki Cameo that they put out to troll Dr. Oz cost the campaign $393.75,” Politico’s Sam Stein tweeted

If anyone needs me, I’ll be processing this in a quiet room

@jeremychrysler tweeted a zoomed-out version of one of the images from the James Webb Space Telescope. It gives some perspective to what we see in the NASA photo. Watch

On tap 

The House is in. The Senate is out. President Biden is in Saudi Arabia. Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C., with no public events scheduled. 

  • 3:30 a.m.: Biden delivered remarks on the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. 
  • 4:30 a.m.: Biden arrived at the West Bank. 
  • 4:45 a.m.: Biden met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. 
  • 6:20 a.m.: Biden visited the church of the nativity in Bethlehem. 
  • 8:25 a.m.: Biden left for Saudi Arabia. Photo of Biden before boarding Air Force One 
  • 11:15 a.m.: Biden met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 
  • 11:45 a.m.: Biden participated in a working session with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • Noon: First and last House votes. Today’s House agenda 
  • 3 p.m. Monday: The Senate returns. Monday’s Senate agenda 
  • July 19: The Hill is hosting and event on the future of health care. Featured speakers: Dr. Anthony Fauci, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, USAID’s Atul Gawande and White House COVID czar Ashish JhaRSVP 
  • July 20: The Hill is hosting a virtual Latina Leaders Summit. Featured speakers: Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), “Encanto” voice actor Adassa, activist Maria Teresa Kumar and PepsiCo’s Esperanza TeasdaleRSVP 

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch 

  • 5:50 a.m.: Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered joint statements. Watch 
  • 9:30 a.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One. Watch 

🍦 In lighter news 

Today is National Gummy Worm Day. And as an important PSA, Sunday is National Ice Cream Day!! 

People has a list of ice cream specials around the country to celebrate. And so does NBC’s “Today.”

And before I leave you for the weekend, here’s a dog who is hoping for fall

I suggest you turn the volume on for commentary. 

Tags 12:30 Report assault weapons ban Biden Saudi Arabia trip climate bill Jamal Khashoggi Joe Manchin Joe Manchin Snooki Tim Kaine

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