The Hill's 12:30 Report: Capitol Hill's new normal

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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: Capitol’s new normal | Trump says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely’ after Pence remarks | Says the task force will evolve | New discoveries shift coronavirus timeline | Supreme Court hears birth control case by teleconference | RBG hospitalized with infection | Hearing oral arguments from hospital | Trump takes underdog role against Biden | Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskBlue Origin takes one small step toward being a competitor to SpaceX Virgin Hyperloop to build new certification center in West Virginia SpaceX awarded contract to build US military tracking satellites MORE’s unusual baby name



Capitol Hill is looking a bit different these days:



The Senate is holding a confirmation hearing this morning for the nomination of 37-year-old Judge Justin Walker to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. What to know about Walker:  https://cnn.it/3frVhmM  

Meanwhile, a House subcommittee is holding a hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Livestream of the Senate confirmation hearinghttps://cs.pn/2WtdGqy

Livestream of the House coronavirus hearinghttps://cs.pn/2YCQ0Tc


What a socially distanced House hearing looks like: “Attending the first socially-distant House subcommittee hearing today, on pandemic response. Lots of space between seats. Everybody in masks, but members are taking them off to speak.” (Via MSNBC’s Garrett HaakePhotohttps://bit.ly/2SGVglg

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySchumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-Vt.) is joining by teleconference: Here’s a photo: https://bit.ly/2SHA12s

Ugh, agreed: “This is the grimmest looking confirmation hearing I've ever seen,” The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery tweeted. Photoshttps://bit.ly/3dkPEVy

Oh, interesting. The foam board could be multipurpose!


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3fmu2tT 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE (R-Iowa) is sporting a nice, blue maskhttps://bit.ly/2YA6602

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says 'no concerns' after questions about health Overnight Health Care: Trump says he hopes Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare | FDA approves remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment | Dems threaten to subpoena HHS over allegations of political interference at CDC The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE is wearing a mask: Here’s a photo of the Senate Majority Leader entering: https://bit.ly/3dnryJU

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 cmartel@thehill.com  — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily: http://bit.ly/2kjMNnn


Should I stay or should I go?:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE said this morning that the White House Coronavirus Task Force will not be dismantled entirely, but will shift its focus. https://bit.ly/2WARmeL

Trump tweeted: “The Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people .... to it, as appropriate. The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!” Read Trump’s full Twitter threat on the task forcehttps://bit.ly/3b8kejF


Yesterday, Vice President Pence’s office said it was in the early stages of dismantling the White House Coronavirus Task Force. https://bit.ly/2A5c66N


Wow, this photo is stunning: Via The New York Times’s Doug Mills, here’s a photo of President Trump walking off Air Force One yesterday: https://bit.ly/2WDCJYe

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2YLj6A9 

From his tour of protective equipment: “The president is wearing safety goggles but no mask on his tour of Honeywell PPE manufacturing line.” (Via The Associated Press’s Zeke MillerPhotohttps://bit.ly/2yy3Njs


Stocks had a good morning:

The stock market rose this morning as President Trump and more than 30 governors push the United States toward reopening. https://bit.ly/2SD4yhW

The numbers: “The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 100 points Wednesday, rising 0.5 percent for its third consecutive day in the green. The Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent, and the S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,206,303

Deaths in the U.S.: 71,152

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y


The coronavirus was circulating several months longer than we thought:

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, “The coronavirus that has exploded into a pandemic has almost certainly been circulating for several months longer than public health experts first suspected, masked by asymptomatic cases or illnesses incorrectly diagnosed.” https://bit.ly/3bfVGpa

Timing: “Scientists believe the first known case of a patient contracting the coronavirus happened in mid-November, in a 55-year-old resident of China's Hubei province. That was six weeks before the World Health Organization's (WHO) surveillance network picked up reports of a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan, the province's largest city.” 

What we know about the outbreak’s timinghttps://bit.ly/3bfVGpa


The ‘Never Trumpers’ are getting under Trump’s skin:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, the feud between President Trump and the so-called “Never Trump Republicans” is back on display. https://bit.ly/2L6bWy9

What happened now: Anti-Trump Republicans of The Lincoln Project, including George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayRaccoon that 'attacked' news crews on White House lawn sparks viral jokes George and Kellyanne Conway honor Ginsburg Lincoln Project releases new ad blasting Trump as 'a horrible role model' MORE, released an ad slamming the president. Watch the ad, ‘Mourning in America’https://bit.ly/2SJzHQZ

Trump then tweeted: “A group of RINO Republicans who failed badly 12 years ago, then again 8 years ago, and then got BADLY beaten by me, a political first timer, 4 years ago, have copied (no imagination) the concept of an ad from Ronald Reagan, ‘Morning in America’, doing everything possible to … get even for all of their many failures.” Read Trump’s full Twitter threat on the adhttps://bit.ly/3catvsV

Why Trump’s reaction is note-worthy: “Trump’s volcanic reaction made clear that the TV ad got under his skin. But whether that means such criticism can hurt his electoral chances is a very different question.” 

Via The Hill’s Jonathan Easleyhttps://bit.ly/3fmeTZo



RBG is working from the hospital:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Trump when asked if he'd be kinder in his second term: 'Yes, I think so' MORE has been hospitalized to treat inflammation of her gallbladder. https://bit.ly/2WvPXG9

How is she feeling?: The Supreme Court said she is “resting comfortably” and will likely be in the hospital for one to two days.

The Supreme Court said in a statement “Following oral arguments on Monday, the Justice underwent outpatient tests at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., that confirmed she was suffering from a gallstone that had migrated to her cystic duct, blocking it and causing an infection.”


This is THE most relevant pop culture reference to COVID-19:




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

Noon: A roll call vote in the Senate. The Senate’s full schedule todayhttps://bit.ly/2YQyXxp

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump signs a proclamation in honor of National Nurses Day.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). 

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room.


This morning: The Supreme Court hears the oral argument in a birth control case. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2SBxeIf

11 a.m. EDT: The Supreme Court hears the oral argument in “Barr, Attorney General v. American Association of Political Consultants, Inc.” Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2YBb8cJ

11:30 a.m. EDT: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoTravel industry calls on Trump administration to prevent the need for quarantines by creating a testing plan State officials plead for more info on vaccine distribution plans Overnight Health Care: NIH chief: Trump has not met with task force in 'quite some time' | CDC reports 300,000 more deaths than expected this year | UK to start challenge trials for vaccine MORE (D) gives an update on his state’s coronavirus outbreak. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2yy32H6

4 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3dnckV7


Today is National Crepe Suzette Day.

*Blank stare*:

Elon Musk and singer Grimes had a baby boy, which they named X Æ A-12 Musk. Really. 

How it’s pronounced: It’s unclear, but “one of the most popular theories is that the baby's name is X Ash Archangel.” https://cbsn.ws/2zbUFB9

Grimes posted an explanation of the name: Yet, I’m even more confused now. https://bit.ly/3c5zwXI


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3c5zEXc

And to lighten your Wednesday afternoon, here’s a video of Nacho and Goat, two penguins at the Oregon Zoo, going for a hike: https://bit.ly/2SD5nY4

Are they holding hands...err, flippers?! Photohttps://bit.ly/2yByV1k