The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by the Walton Family Foundation — Pope Francis expresses support for same-sex unions


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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: Pope FrancisPope FrancisBishops discourage Catholics from receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccine if alternatives available US mulls possible military response to rocket attack on Iraq base US contractor dies in attack on Iraqi base MORE voices support for same-sex unions | Biden doubles Trump in cash | Senate GOP begs Trump to talk about policy over personal attacks | 2021 Cherry Blossom Parade canceled | Disneyland reopening delayed further |  Kobe, Kamala, Liberty rise as popular baby names | Karen, Chad decline



The pope supports same-sex unions:  


Via The New York Times’s Jason Horowitz, “Pope Francis, who since the beginning of his pontificate has taken a more tolerant  tone toward homosexuality, appeared to break with the position of the Roman Catholic Church by supporting civil unions for same-sex couples, according to remarks Francis made in a new documentary that debuted in Rome on Wednesday.” https://nyti.ms/3meQgAF

In Pope Francis’s words, via the Catholic News Agency: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.” https://bit.ly/3o6PQxM 

And when asked directly about civil unions: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

Details of the new documentary: The documentary, “Francesco,” premiered in Rome today. It will premiere in North America on Sunday. https://bit.ly/3o6PQxM

It’s Wednesday and it’s a foggy day in Washington, D.C.! Here’s a photo of the Capitol, or, well, what you can see of it:https://bit.ly/31v842h  

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   



The company that makes OxyContin pleaded guilty:

Via The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel, “Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures the powerful opioid OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal charges as part of a larger $8 billion settlement arrangement, the Justice Department said Wednesday.” https://bit.ly/2HmwmnZ

The felony charges: The charges “[include] conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of conspiracy to violate anti-kickback laws. 

Keep in mind about the drug: “OxyContin has been widely blamed for starting the country’s opioid crisis, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans over the past two decades.” 





Biden lapped Trump in cash:

Via Politico’s Elena Schneider and Zach Montellaro, “Joe BidenJoe BidenThe West needs a more collaborative approach to Taiwan Abbott's medical advisers were not all consulted before he lifted Texas mask mandate House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act MORE’s campaign outraised [President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MOREs] by an eye-catching $200 million in September and started October with $177 million in the bank. That's a nearly 3-to-1 edge over Trump’s $63 million, putting Trump at a deficit without parallel in the modern era of campaign financing, especially for a sitting president.” https://politi.co/35dgdcE

For context: “The last incumbent to face reelection, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Pentagon issues report revealing ex-White House doctor 'belittled' subordinates, violated alcohol policies The Reagan era is over MORE, had nearly $100 million left to spend at this point in 2012, while his challenger, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRepublicans, please save your party Mellman: How the Senate decided impeachment The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE, had almost exactly the amount Trump has left this year.” 



Please, talk about policy.:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Republicans are urging President Trump to focus on policy — not personality fights — in the final two weeks before the election.” https://bit.ly/37smq7y

Why it’s so important in the final stretch: “As the president and several key incumbents trail in the polls, GOP senators are urging him to dial down the personal attacks and focus on his agenda in a last-ditch attempt to appeal to swing voters by emphasizing the policy differences between a potential Trump second term and a Biden administration.”  

Timing: “Their pleas come ahead of a final debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this week and as the president has appeared eager to home in on Biden’s son Hunter Biden, a move some GOP senators and strategists warn could backfire.”

Examples of Republican senators pleading with Trump to focus on policy, not personal attacks: https://bit.ly/37smq7y

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/31ta0sg


Meanwhile in the House — one of the biggest battlegrounds in a decade:

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson from Glendale, Ariz., Democrats and Republicans are fighting over the largest House battlefield in a decade. https://bit.ly/3ofGtvJ

How so: “The four most prominent groups paying for advertising in House races are targeting 31 seats held by Democratic incumbents and 30 seats held by Republicans, according to the nonpartisan firm Advertising Analytics. Those seats stretch from the Alaskan tundra to the beaches of South Florida, from Orange County to rural Maine and seemingly everywhere in between.”



To even say they are ‘inching’ closer to a deal would be overstating it:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, “After months of slow-moving talks on another round of coronavirus relief, the top negotiators on Tuesday appeared to be where they’ve been for weeks: making some progress but without a major breakthrough to report.” https://bit.ly/35hSqII

Happening today: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinBiden cautious in making Trump tax returns decision Biden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears MORE and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package MORE (D-Calif.) are scheduled to speak again. 

Mark Monday on your calendar:

The Senate will vote on Monday to confirm Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill Supreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster MORE to the Supreme Court. https://bit.ly/37qMz6u

I.e.: 8 days before Election Day



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 8,276,966

U.S. death toll: 221,122

Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

For context: A month ago today, 6,814,696 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus and 199,531 had died. https://bit.ly/2ITrs2D



Learn more about how #SchoolsIn can help your family 

This is hard. And at times heartbreaking. But the steadfast commitment to learning must be celebrated. By documenting the all-too-real experiences, showcasing bootstrap ideas and sharing unflappable creativity on social media with #SchoolsIN, we can create a web of support for students, parents and educators who deserve every ounce of inspiration and motivation we can offer.

To join the community and learn more, visit SchoolsIN.org.


Guess the Chief Mouse Officer — the CMO if you will — will work from home a bit longer:

Via CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn, “Disneyland will likely stay closed for at least several more weeks -- and possibly months -- after California released its long-awaited guidance Tuesday for how theme parks in the state can safely reopen.” https://cnn.it/35odzAW 

When Disneyland can reopen: It can reopen at 25 percent capacity once Orange County reaches a lower tier of COVID-19 cases.

Everything we know about a potential reopening: https://cnn.it/35odzAW



Wow, the 2021 Cherry Blossom Parade is already canceled:

Via NBC Washington’s Matthew Stabley, “The 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade has already been canceled due to the coronavirus, the festival announced.” https://bit.ly/37oZ7LT

Yes, but the festival will still happen (!): “The National Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled for March 20 through April will go on with safe programming being planned.”

Full details: https://bit.ly/37oZ7LT



Um, yikes:


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3jjPRej  

Read the op-ed — I promise it is at all not boring: https://bit.ly/3m8TB4a


Ah hahahahaha:

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/31rnWCW  

Watch: https://bit.ly/31rnWCW


The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and is holding a campaign rally in North Carolina this evening. Vice President Pence is campaigning in New Hampshire and Ohio.  

Noon: The Senate meets. The Senate’s full agenda today, including afternoon votes: https://bit.ly/35myYum                                                         

12:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Portsmouth, N.H. 

3:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Cincinnati.

4:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Gastonia, N.C.

9:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence returns to Washington, D.C.

10:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump returns to the White House.



11:55 a.m. EDT: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMichelle Obama says 'everyone was concerned' about potential violence at Biden inauguration Ella Emhoff, inauguration designer join forces on knitwear collaboration Who is the Senate parliamentarian and why is she important? MORE (D-Calif.) campaigned in Asheville, N.C. Livestream: https://cs.pn/35igPhf

2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H. Livestream: https://cs.pn/35jvrx5

5:45 p.m. EDT: Former President Barack Obama campaigns for Joe Biden in Philadelphia. Livestream: https://cs.pn/3m9zUZO

6:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a campaign rally in Cincinnati. Livestream: https://cs.pn/37ukSKm 

7 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Gastonia, N.C. Livestream: https://cs.pn/3oeSmlC


Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!

The popular baby names are a microcosm of this year:

BabyCenter published the most popular baby names of 2020 so far. A few interesting tidbits: Kobe shot up 175% after Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, lost his life in a tragic helicopter accident alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (up 216%). On the social and political fronts, Kamala (up 104%) and Liberty(up 12%) rose in popularity, while Karen and Chad declined by 13% and 12% respectively.” https://bit.ly/2HofJsi

The No. 1 girl name: Sophia

The No. 1 boy name: Liam

The other top names for 2020: https://bit.ly/2HofJsi


And because you made it this far, here is why innovation is so important in society: https://bit.ly/3dM7t17


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3dM7t17

Don’t worry, I won’t tease you with just photos. Here’s a video:  https://bit.ly/2TeUQ5u ;)