The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Hurricane Ian barrels into Florida nearing Category 5 winds
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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.
Everyone is holding their breath:
Hurricane Ian is barreling into the west coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday.
The winds have reached 155 mph, according to The Weather Channel, just 2 mph short of becoming a Category 5.
HELPFUL LINKS TO CHECK:
FEMA held a press briefing on Wednesday morning to provide a status update: Watch
It’s a tense Wednesday as we brace for the storm’s impact. Stay safe if you’re in Florida. 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.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS AS THE STORM APPROACHES:
Here is video of Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa: “The bay being sucked out,” meteorologist Jordan Steele pointed out. It’s eerie to see.
Photos of the receding waters along the coast: From CBS News
The Skyway Bridge has closed to traffic: WFLA tweeted footage of the bridge as the storm started.
Omg, what are these people doing?: @ZachVoeyTV tweeted video of people in Fort Myers, Fla., swimming in the storm’s waves. Watch
A meteorologist reported near the water in Sarasota this morning: This doesn’t look safe to me. Footage from The Weather Channel’s Chris Bruin
Video of the flooding in Key West: From WSVN’s T.J. Parker
And video of the storm in Key West around 9 p.m. last night: From The Weather Channel’s Felicia Combs
Yikes — for context on the size of the storm: Meteorologist Stu Ostro tweeted a comparison of the size of Hurricanes Ian and Charlie. “Current size of [Ian’s] eye and eyewall, compared with Charley’s in 2004 when it was in a similar location approaching the coast.” The photo is startling
How much the storm’s path projections have changed in the past few days: The University of Miami’s Brian McNoldy posted: “This map shows every ‘cone of uncertainty’ for [Ian] over the past three days, with the most recent in orange. That eastern edge has wobbled around by just under 40 miles… in three days.” McNoldy also tweeted some context
‘How Hurricane Ian intensified so quickly’: Read the op-ed
HOW THIS IS A MAJOR MAKE-OR-BREAK MOMENT FOR DESANTIS:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is up for reelection in just six weeks and is seen as a leading 2024 Republican presidential contender.
Yes, but keep in mind (!): “Natural or environmental disasters can have a huge impact on a politician’s standing.”
How this storm could impact his political future, via The Hill’s Niall Stanage
By the way: President Biden spoke with DeSantis on Tuesday evening to coordinate preparation and response to the storm.
🥊 In Congress
All’s fair in love and politics:
^ I bet Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made this same facial expression on Tuesday.
Republicans are still furious about Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreeing to pass Democrats’ social spending bill over the summer — and they got some revenge on Tuesday.
What happened: Republicans forced Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to cancel a vote on Manchin’s bill to reform permitting for energy projects, a big legislative priority for the senator. Manchin’s proposal was attached to the government funding bill, and Republicans said they would block the funding bill if the permitting legislation was attached.
Developments in the short-term bill to keep the government open, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton
WHEN THE SENATE MAY PASS THE SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OPEN:
On Thursday. Details from Reuters
📍 The latest with Russia
Americans, please leave Russia ASAP:
“The U.S. Embassy in Russia is urging Americans in the country to leave and warning U.S. citizens to not travel to Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a call-up of 300,000 reservists to aid depleted forces in Ukraine.”
How to exit the country: “The U.S. Embassy said on Wednesday that flights are extremely limited and often unavailable on short notice but that overland routes by car and bus are still open. The embassy added that it is severely limited in its ability to help U.S. citizens and people should make independent arrangements as soon as possible.” What we know
‘HOW US IS USING STRATEGIC AMBIGUITY TO COUNTER PUTIN’S NUCLEAR THREATS’:
The gist: The U.S. is being purposely vague about its response to Russia potentially using nuclear weapons as a strategy of deterrence. What we know, via TheHill’s Ellen Mitchell and Brett Samuels
Just how low could stocks go…?:
“The precise answer is impossible to predict, but experts told The Hill they expect investors to see more pain before growth in the economy resumes,” according to The Hill’s Tobias Burns.
From Goldman Sachs analysts David Kostin and Ben Snider: “Based on our client discussions, a majority of equity investors have adopted the view that a hard landing scenario is inevitable and their focus is on the timing, magnitude, and duration of a potential recession and investment strategies for that outlook,” Kostin and Snider wrote to investors last week.
🦠 Latest with COVID
➤ THE COVID-19 NUMBERS
Cases to date: 95.9 million
Death toll: 1,051,389
Current hospitalizations: 20,033
Shots administered: 616 million
Fully vaccinated: 67.8 percent of Americans
The Library of Congress tweeted, “You didn’t think [Lizzo] played that antique flute on stage without practicing first, did you? She visited the Library Monday & played several of the flutes in our collection, which is the largest in the world.” Photo
^ Back story: During Lizzo’s performance on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., she used a crystal flute that once belonged to former President James Madison. The full story
How the flute got to the concert: With help from Capitol Police officers. Photo from the U.S. Capitol Police
The House and Senate are in. President Biden is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Harris is in Japan.
- Today: Harris hosted a roundtable to discuss the CHIPS and Science Act and the supply chain. She then visits the USS Howard and delivered remarks.
- 8 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing.
- 12:30 – 2:15 p.m.: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons. Wednesday’s Senate agenda
- 1:15 p.m.: Biden receives a briefing on global economic developments.
- 6:30 p.m.: First and last House votes. Wednesday’s House agenda
- 7 p.m.: Biden participates in a Democratic Governors Association reception.
All times Eastern.
📺What to watch
- 10 a.m.: Biden delivered remarks at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health at the Ronald Reagan Building in DC. Watch
- 11 a.m.: Biden and first lady Jill Biden delivered remarks to celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act and for Disability Pride Month. Watch
- 11:45 a.m.: The White House Monkeypox Response Team held a press briefing. Watch
- 12:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a press briefing. Livestream
🍓 In lighter news
Today is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day.
And to leave you on a good note, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this dog wants a cookie.