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: Senate voting on two-year budget deal | Ryan says he has the votes in the House | Pelosi won't whip Dems against deal | Fallout from WH staff secretary's resignation | Kelly reportedly knew about abuse claims | Omarosa on US under Trump - 'It's going to not be okay' | Senator celebrates lobster emoji | Olympic events start today | Spice Girls' potential reunion tour



Happening today -- it's more fun to vote when the lights begin to flicker:

The Senate is expected to vote today on a two-year budget deal that would substantially increase spending and suspend the debt ceiling for a year. The gist: It averts a second government shutdown and gives lawmakers who wanted more money for the military a big win.

What's specifically in the bill: It increases defense spending by $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 and by $85 billion in fiscal year 2019, while raising nondefense spending by $63 billion and $68 billion.

Full text of the bill -- if reading 652 pages on the budget is your thing:

Yep, that feels like a tomorrow problem: The deal suspends the debt ceiling until March of 2019, ensuring Congress won't have to deal with the legislative headache again until after this year's midterm elections.

Complicating things -- from the right: Yesterday, House conservatives revolted against the massive bipartisan deal, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility. What this means for the bill in the House: Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters Amazon fleeced New York, Virginia with HQ2 picks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — House, Senate leaders named as Pelosi lobbies for support to be Speaker MORE (R-Wis.) will need dozens of Democratic votes to pass the deal.

Complicating things -- from the left: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is opposed to the bill, but said she won't be pushing rank-and-file Democrats to join her in voting against it.

^Eh?: Via The Huffington Post's Matt Fuller, "House Dem leadership now actively whipping against the caps deal. This could get interesting." 

JUST NOW — FIRST VOTE’S A NO: Senators rejected a House plan to pair a full year of defense funding with a short-term fix for the rest of the government. Was this expected: Yes. Keep in mind: This vote was scheduled before lawmakers reached a budget deal. Now: The Senate is now expected to pass the bipartisan deal later today.


NEW DEVELOPMENT -- RYAN'S CONFIDENT: On Hugh Hewitt's radio show Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he believes he has the votes needed to pass this massive budget deal, despite pushback from both the left and right over the bipartisan deal.

It's Thursday -- bum bum BUM DUM DUH DUM BUM BUM BUM (that's obviously the Olympic theme song). 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.



And anotha one bites the dust:

Via The Daily Mail's Louise Boyle, White House staff secretary Rob Porter abruptly resigned yesterday following revelations that he had abused his past spouses. From his second wife: "[Jennifer] Willoughby, 39, told she was 'walking on eggshells' during their marriage due to his explosive anger. From his first wife: "Colbie Holderness confirmed to 'He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left.'" Their stories:

STATEMENT FROM PORTER: Rob Porter denied the allegations. "These outrageous allegations are simply false," he said in his statement. "I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign." 

WHERE THIS STORY GETS EVEN MORE TOUCHY: "White House communications director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump played key role in coordinating hush money payments to Daniels, McDougal: report Trump: 'I don't call it tweeting. I call it social media' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Trump heads to battleground Iowa, where GOP House members seek help MORE, who has been in a romantic relationship with Rob Porter, was involved in crafting the response to the allegations of domestic abuse leveled against Porter on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter tell me." (Via CNN's Jeremy Diamond)

TIDBIT: "According to TVEyes, Fox News has not mentioned the Rob Porter story at all since 6pm yesterday. Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayFox's Levin rips Conway's husband: 'Apparently you believe in publicly humiliating your wife, moron' George Conway forms group to encourage conservative lawyers to 'speak out' against Trump Trump’s new strategy: Chummer-in-Chief MORE was even interviewed on 'Fox & Friends,' and wasn't asked about it." (Via CNN's Brian Stelter)

Why John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE is taking the brunt of the political firestorm:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he was "shocked" by the allegations.  In his words: "I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society," Kelly said in the statement.

YEAH, BUT...: Via CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak and Dan Merica, senior White House officials, including John Kelly, knew about the allegations against Porter for months (!) What they knew: "By early fall, it was widely known among Trump's top aides -- including chief of staff John Kelly -- both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff." How the White House reacted: "Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week's State of the Union address. He traveled instead of Kelly to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. And he was one of a select group of aides who shook Chinese President Xi Jinping's hand during a state visit to Beijing in November."


White House staff not pleased: Via Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, White House staffers are reportedly questioning Kelly's judgment after retaining Porter on staff while knowing the allegations.  "It's beyond disbelief," a former White House official told Vanity Fair, according to Sherman. "Everyone is trying to figure out why Kelly is leading the charge to save him."

Former ethics chief ripped Kelly: "So John Kelly, often touted as the White House's adult, falsely smeared a congresswoman, tells us a failure to compromise on slavery caused the civil war, called dreamers lazy, and protected a wife beater," Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubSanders, Conway appear at Trump rally Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits News station criticized for publishing 'smear' about man killed in his apartment by off-duty officer MORE, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted.

And a Republican senator: Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said John Kelly made a "bad decision." "If you want to serve the public, particularly as a member of a president's staff, I don't care who you are, even if you're a Rhodes Scholar, you can't beat the hell out of your spouse," Kennedy said.



Omg, you guys. I wouldn't usually tell you to watch a clip from reality TV, but TRUST. ME. ON. THIS.:

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman opens up about her time in the White House on Celebrity Big Brother. Keep in mind: Omarosa made her TV debut on NBC's "The Apprentice."  93-second clip -->



Who says you have to vote for what you negotiated?!:

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmaker: 'There's plenty of competent females' that can be Speaker instead of Pelosi Marcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP MORE (D-Calif.) took over the House floor for eight hours yesterday to deliver a monologue on immigration. Keep in mind: Pelosi vowed to oppose the budget deal -- a deal she herself helped to negotiate -- unless Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pledges to consider legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

This photo makes my feet hurt:


Next week -- back to square uno:

The Senate will be starting from scratch next week when it begins debating immigration legislation on the floor, a key choice that could impact the outcome. Why this is an interesting move: The decision has both procedural and political implications, as senators will be able to offer their own competing immigration proposals. In McConnell's own words, "whoever gets to 60 wins."



Cue the sappy 'times change, but the MeMoRiEs last 4eVr' songs:


Wahoooooo! Keep on fighting the good fight, Sen. King:

Side note: I love how he signed his name. Emoji game: strong.



The House and Senate are in. President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE is in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence traveled from Tokyo to Seoul for the Winter Olympics.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump met with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMacron’s 'Euro-army' is an idea whose time has come Pentagon limiting senior leader appearances at public events: report Pentagon: Number of troops at border has 'pretty much peaked' at 5,800 MORE.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinOvernight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Former VA chief Shulkin: 'Chaos' probably a 'pretty accurate term' to describe Trump White House Veterans group sues to block advisers known as ‘Mar-a-Lago Crowd’ from influencing VA MORE.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Henry Kissinger.

Midnight: The federal government shuts down if Congress doesn't agree to a deal. 

Op-ed: Rachel Bovard argues that government shutdowns are dysfunctions that are becoming the new norm in the Senate.



8 a.m. EST: President Trump spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.

2:30 p.m. EST: White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah fills in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders at his first daily press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Molasses Bar Day.

As an important heads up, tomorrow is National Pizza Day! Here's a list of pizza deals so far. I'll update you tomorrow. ;)

I'll tell you what I want. What I really, really want. THIS TOUR!: 

Via TMZ, the Spice Girls may be reuniting for a reunion tour in the U.S. and United Kingdom. What we know: "Mel BVictoria BeckhamGeri HalliwellEmma Bunton and Melanie C met last week with their former manager, Simon Fuller. Sources connected to the women tell us the meeting was for 'rough planning' and the goal is a world tour that will kick off in late summer."

Fun fact -- "You probably made more than Elon Musk last year":

CNNMoney's Chris Isidore reports that "Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, is also among the lowest paid CEOs -- by a lot. Musk earned $49,920 last year, Tesla said Thursday. That's what an 80-hour work week on California's minimum wage gets you ($10.50 an hour plus overtime)." The fine print: Musk doesn't take that salary, but he has 37.9 million shares of Tesla stock. That's worth about $13 billion.

And because you made it to the end, here's a dog holding his own rodeo: