The Hill's 12:30 Report: House Dems pass electoral reform bill after difficult week

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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: House passes sweeping election reform bill | Shine abruptly resigns as WH comms chief | Fallout from House vote on anti-hate measure | Trump blasts Dems as 'anti-Jewish' party | Ocasio-Cortez criticizes 23 Republicans who voted against measure | Trump feels 'very badly' for Manafort, hasn't discussed pardon | Economy adds only 20K jobs | Trump heads to Alabama town hit by tornadoes | Queen Elizabeth's first Instagram post



Yes, there was a vote to literally condemn hate:

The House passed a resolution yesterday to condemn anti-Semitism and hate speech. 

Why it was necessary: It was sparked by remarks from Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.) that were criticized as anti-Semitic and caused tensions within the Democratic Party. 

The vote: 407-23. 

Who voted against the measure: 23 Republicans. Here's the list of the 23:

Why those 23 Republicans voted against it -- it's not what you think: They argued it was a "watered down" measure that did not properly condemn Omar's remarks. 

Tidbit about the tensions in the Democratic caucus: "'[Well] if you're not going to listen to me, I'm done talking,' Pelosi responded, before *literally* dropping the mic & walking out of the room." (Tweet from Politico's Melanie Zanona about a contentious meeting before the vote)



From President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE: Trump accused the Democratic Party of becoming an "anti-Israel, anti-Jewish party."

From AOC: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to hold campaign rallies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas Overwhelming majority say social media companies have too much influence: poll MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted, "Where's the outrage over the 23 GOP members who voted NO on a resolution condemning bigotry today? Oh, there's none? Did they get called out, raked over, ambushed in halls and relentlessly asked why not? No? Okay. Got it."

From Omar: "Our nation is having a difficult conversation, but we believe this is great progress." Read her full statement:


Happy Friday! It's International Women's Day! 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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Democrats pass electoral reform bill

House Democrats just passed a sweeping electoral reform bill that was their top legislative priority today.

The vote: 234-193

The name: The For The People Act, better known as H.R. 1

What the bill would do: It "aims to expand voting rights, implement new ethics rules and increase transparency in elections, according to its proponents. The bill includes provisions enable automatic automatic voter registration, strengthen resources to stave off foreign threats on elections and would make Election Day a national holiday for federal workers." 


Now onto the Senate where Papa Mitch is watching everyone:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment CNN's Cuomo promotes 'Dirty Donald' hashtag, hits GOP for 'loyalty oath' to Trump MORE (R-Ky.) is pulling out all the stops to make sure not a single Republican senator backs the campaign finance and ethics reform bill that House Democrats are set to pass on Friday."

Keep in mind: McConnell is a longtime opponent of campaign finance reform.

Back story:


Breaking — former Fox News exec leaves the White House:

Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian, White House communications director Bill Shine, a former top executive at Fox News, is resigning to become a senior adviser to Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

Trump said in a statement: “Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the Administration. We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 Presidential Campaign, where he will be totally involved,” Trump said in a statement.  



Because trial by combat is banned...:

A federal judge sentenced President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHow to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump DOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Former FBI general counsel wants apology from Trump MORE to 47 months in prison.

Why this number is surprising: Under advisory recommendations, Manafort could have received 19.5 to 24 years.

Also part of his sentence: Judge T.S. Ellis III, a Reagan appointee, ordered Manafort to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $50,000 fine and $24 million in restitution.

From the judge: "You've been convicted of serious crimes -- very serious crimes -- by a jury." But the judge added: "I think that sentencing range is excessive. I don't think that is warranted in this case." 

Tidbit about Manafort during the hearing: "Mr. Manafort, who has gout and came to the hearing in a wheelchair with his foot heavily bandaged, had asked the judge for compassion. 'To say I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,' he said in a barely audible voice, reading from a prepared statement."



No! Collusion!: President Trump tweeted, "Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia," Trump wrote on Twitter. "But the Witch Hunt Hoax continues as you now add these statements to House & Senate Intelligence & Senator Burr. So bad for our Country!"

How Trump feels about the sentence: President Trump told reporters that he feels "very badly" for Paul Manafort.

Possible pardon?: Trump said, "I haven't discussed it."


Cohen: Show me the money:

Via CNN's Erica Orden, "President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFormer Trump lawyer Michael Cohen asks judge to reduce sentence Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Karen McDougal sues Fox News over alleged slander MORE, sued the Trump Organization on Thursday, saying that after Cohen began cooperating with federal investigators, the company failed to fulfill its contractual obligations to indemnify him or pay his legal bills relating to his work for the firm."



Nope, I didn't forget a zero in this number...:

The U.S. economy added 20,000 jobs in February.

Compare that to...: Analysts expected 180,000 new jobs for the month. 

The unemployment rate: The unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent.

In January: The economy added a whopping 304,000 jobs. 

Context to these numbers from The New York Times:



Carpooling to the Capitol after The Hill's event yesterday:


Yes, he means a literal air horn:


Back story: "A Trump official said seismic air gun tests don't hurt whales. So a congressman blasted him with an air horn." Full story:



9:25 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Judiciary Democrats approve articles of impeachment setting up House vote next week Charlotte Pence to hold wedding reception at vice president's residence Karen Pence reveals 'Victorian Christmas!' themed decorations at vice president's residence MORE left for Columbus, Ohio

9:30 a.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWhite House on Greta Thunberg: Trump, first lady communicate differently The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Judiciary Democrats approve articles of impeachment setting up House vote next week Michelle Obama encourages Greta Thunberg after Trump attack: 'Ignore the doubters' MORE left for Lee County, Ala. Busy morning for Joint Base Andrews!

10:15 a.m. EST: The House voted. The House's full schedule today:

Noon: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Lee County, Ala., to meet with residents of towns hit by deadly tornadoes. They will then head to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen Pence arrive in Lexington, Ky.

3:50 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a Kentucky Republican Party event.

6:30 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in a fundraising committee roundtable.

7:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at a fundraising reception. This is closed to press.

7:35 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen Pence arrive in Brunswick, Ga.

Today: International Women's Day. Op-ed:

Sunday -- Wednesday: The Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. Details:

3 p.m. EST Monday: The Senate meets. The Senate's full schedule Monday:



11:35 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence spoke at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association 2019 Annual Meeting. Livestream:

Noon: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyGOP lawmakers jockey for positions as managers On The Money: Trump, China announce 'Phase One' trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal House panel to hold hearing, vote on Trump's new NAFTA proposal MORE (R-Calif.) held a press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Peanut Cluster Day.


The bar has been set for great grandmothers:

92-year-old Queen Elizabeth II posted her first Instagram post on Thursday!

OK, she literally just clicked "share": "Wearing a bright tangerine coat with a matching hat, Queen Elizabeth II stepped up to a glass lectern, removed a long black glove and gently tapped 'share' on an iPad."

The post: A picture of a letter that was sent to her great-great-grandfather. The Instagram post:

Wait, 1976?!: "The queen has long embraced technology, sending her first email in 1976 and introducing a website for the British monarchy in 1997. She posted her first tweet in 2014." 


Oh good!!!:

Taylor Swift says plans to be more vocal about politics in the 2020 elections.

She told Elle: "I'm finding my voice in terms of politics.  I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life. I saw so many issues that put our most vulnerable citizens at risk, and felt like I had to speak up to try and help make a change." 


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's one of the best videos I've seen in a while: a dog who is NOT messing around with his status as the favorite dog: