The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union | US troops killed in Syria blast | Day 2 of Barr confirmation

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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: Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union over shutdown | House, Senate leaders cancel recess week | Pelosi keeps tight grip on Dems in shutdown fight | US troops killed in Syria blast | White House calls King's comments 'abhorrent' | Day 2 of Barr confirmation | Gillibrand sets up 2020 committee | Gymnastics routine goes viral | National Fig Newton Day



Recess is for governments that stay OPEN:

House and Senate leaders have decided to cancel the Martin Luther King Day recess unless the government reopens -- which appears to be unlikely.  


^^And so are State of the Union addresses:

This morning, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff Twitter, Facebook split on manipulated Bloomberg video MORE (D-Calif.) asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE to delay his State of the Union address until the government reopens. 

Pelosi's reasoning: "Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th."

IF YOU'RE WONDERING HOW NEGOTIATIONS ARE GOING BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND DEMOCRATS..."  "Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNew York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat Hillicon Valley: Intel officials warned lawmakers Russia interfering in 2020 | Pompeo condemns Russian cyberattack on country of Georgia | Tech activists see Kickstarter union as breakthrough | Pentagon agency suffers data breach MORE (N.Y.), one of the principal negotiators, told reporters Tuesday that he hasn't spoken to President Trump in nearly a week, underlining the standstill in negotiations."


'And you doubted me?!':

Via The Hill's Mike Lillis, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has her troops locked down and walking in step as the Democrats face off against President Trump over border security." How so: "Just weeks ago, Pelosi had faced the toughest challenge to her leadership career from disgruntled Democrats fed up with her long reign, leading to questions of how effectively Pelosi would manage her diverse and restive caucus heading into the high-stakes 2020 presidential cycle. But 25 days into a partial government shutdown, virtually every Democrat has adopted Pelosi's position of refusing to negotiate on Trump's border wall before the government is reopened."


A scary tidbit -- Air Traffic Controllers Union says flying isn't as safe:

A top member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said on CNN that flying is "less safe today than it was a month ago" because of the partial government shutdown.

From Trish Gilbert, the executive vice president of the labor union: "I would say [flying] is less safe today than it was a month ago, absolutely. ... We are working with barebones crews. We have controllers there doing what they do very, very well -- but how long can you expect them to do it without all of the systems behind them to keep the system safe? And the planes in the air?" Watch her explain:

BTW, THE TYPICAL FEDERAL WORKER HAS MISSED $5K IN PAY: According to an analysis from The New York Times, the average federal worker has missed $5,000 in pay during the partial government shutdown. "While the median federal salary is $77,000, about one-fifth of workers make less than $50,000. Many have said they have less than a month of savings, and the shutdown is in its fourth week." Breakdown:


It's Wednesday. 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 follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off on Friday and Monday for the long weekend. Tuesday. Same time, same place. 



US troops killed in Syria:

U.S. service members were killed in a suicide blast in Syria. Officials are still gathering information, but: The explosion occurred while a patrol of the U.S.-led international coalition fighting ISIS was caught in a suicide blast, according to local reports. What we know:

FROM WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: "The president has been fully briefed and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria."

CONTEXT FROM CNN'S JAKE TAPPER: "I can't imagine how excruciating it is for Blue Star families with loved ones in Syria right now as we all wait for the Pentagon to deliver the horrible news."

SEN. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBarr to attend Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday GOP lawmaker makes unannounced trip to northeastern Syria Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (R-S.C.) INTERRUPTS THE BARR HEARING: "Lindsey Graham interrupts Barr hearing to deliver warning to Trump on Syria, in wake of attack in Manbij: 'To those who lost their lives today in Syria, you were defending America, in my view ... I hope the president will look long and hard at what we're doing in Syria.' " Read Graham’s full statement:

Op-ed on Syria:



OK, I'll let this go, William Barr. But blink twice if you change your mind:

President Trump's nominee for attorney general, William Barr, is testifying during the second day of his confirmation hearing. Livestream:


And joining in the confirmation hearing fun today:

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning for his confirmation hearing. Expect Dems to grill him on the agency's deregulatory agenda. Livestream:

Protests: Environmental protesters interrupted the hearing. Video:



"A presidential announcement a day..."

Last night, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandNow is the time for a US data protection agency The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate Ginsburg, accepting lifetime achievement award, urges working fathers to take an active role in kids' lives MORE (D-N.Y.) announced she is setting up an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race. Where she made the announcement: On "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." Timing: Gillibrand is heading Iowa this weekend. 


More fallout for Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingMother of child in viral meme sends Steve King cease-and-desist for using image in fundraising Nebraska Democratic Party Chair: Rural vote should be 'bedrock' of party With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response MORE:

President Trump's top spokesperson condemned Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) remarks about white supremacy and white nationalism. From press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "Steve King's comments were abhorrent." She also said: "The Republican leadership, unlike Democrats, have actually taken action when their members have said outrageous and inappropriate things."

Oh and: The largest newspaper in King's district has called for King to resign from office. Excerpt: "It's time for Steve King to go. He should resign his seat in the U.S. House. A new election should be held for voters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District to choose a replacement," The Sioux City Journal wrote in an editorial. 



Aaah, 2020 jokes...:


Spotted around D.C. today -- actual fake news:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump met with the Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room of the White House.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes to invoke cloture on a resolution opposing Trump's plans to lift sanctions on three Russian companies. The Senate's full schedule today:

1 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday Pompeo expects US-Taliban agreement to be signed on Feb. 29 The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE.

1 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with the U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

1:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

1:30 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson.

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump signs the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 in the Oval Office.

3:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with "Angel Families," the White House's term for families of people killed by undocumented immigrants

5 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.



10:20 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence spoke at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference at the State Department. Livestream:

Today: Day 2 of the confirmation heading for President Trump's attorney general nominee, William BarrLivestream:

Today: Andrew Wheeler, President Trump's nominee for EPA administrator, testifies on Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing. Livestream:

9 p.m. EST: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who announced an exploratory presidential committee, will appear on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."



Today is National Fig Newton Day.


I've watched this video so many times:

UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi earned a perfect 10 in her viral floor routine last weekend. It has 37.5 million views so far. Watch:


And because this video made me awkwardly laugh out loud in a quiet coffee shop (whoops), here's a little girl who is ~thrilled~ to meet her new baby brother. That stare!: