The Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden's first official trip as president

The Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden's first official trip as president
© Getty Images

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here: http://bit.ly/1M1mIfw 

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/1Tt4hqN

--> 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: Biden’s first official trip as president | Visits Milwaukee tonight | Participates in CNN town hall | Extends mortgage relief through June | Biden transitions from post-Trump to his own agenda | How scientists saved FDA from Trump politics | Fauci worried about getting COVID in Trump White House | Pelosi calls for 9/11-style commission for Jan. 6 attack | 2020 tax filing expected to be challenging | Delayed National Pancake Day celebration at IHOP



Fascinating behind-the-scenes look — How scientists intervened to help save the vaccine process from political pressure: 

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, Remember in August when former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE had approved an emergency authorization for blood plasma from recovered COVID patients to be used as a treatment? Scientists worried the authorization was motivated by politics in the Trump administration, not the science. 

Why scientists were particularly worried: “They feared it signaled a race to give final approval to a vaccine in the weeks ahead of November’s presidential election, racing through safety checks that could undermine public trust and make a mess of the federal government’s last best hope to end the pandemic.”  

“In interviews with The Hill, [former FDA Commissioner Stephen HahnStephen HahnRedfield says Azar pressured him to revise COVID-19 data reports The Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden's first official trip as president The Hill's Morning Report - With trial over, Biden renews push for COVID-19 bill MORE], senior administration officials and half a dozen of the nation’s leading scientists who became members of Hahn’s informal kitchen cabinet described the tense months leading up to the December decisions to authorize two promising vaccine candidates.” 

Tidbit: Hahn said that even if he wanted to rush the vaccine approval process to give Trump a win before the November election, there was little opportunity to do that. 

The full story — the competing pressures must have been overwhelminghttps://bit.ly/3rXnHuf 

Meanwhile — this is a little too real


Tweet asking how come it feels like it is always March


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3pjJ876

It’s Tuesday — welcome back from the long weekend! 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


News this a.m. — Biden extends mortgage relief:

“The White House on Monday announced a program to extend mortgage relief and a moratorium on home foreclosures through June as thousands of Americans continue to struggle to keep up with payments during the coronavirus pandemic.” https://bit.ly/3pqcBfy 

Details — read the White House’s announcementhttps://bit.ly/3jW6JtC

President BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE’ or ‘the president after Donald Trump’:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “President Biden ran for election as an antidote to his predecessor. Now he faces a different test — whether he can sell his own agenda.” https://bit.ly/3u3jaYW

It still feels a little like the Trump show: “Biden is only just beginning to step out of former President Trump’s shadow, after almost one month in the White House.” 

Complicating the mental transition – impeachment: That’s why Democrats decided not to extend the Senate impeachment trial by calling witnesses. 

What’s important for the Biden administration: “If Biden gets the COVID relief package through Congress — and does so without having to make compromises liable to disappoint progressives — he will build political capital for the challenges ahead.”

From the weekend — over the river and through the woods:


Motorcade leaves snow-covered Camp David




Treating Jan. 6 like 9/11 — Pelosi calls for a commission:

Via Politico’s Kyle Cheney, “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she would have put up a fight against Capitol mob: 'I'm a street fighter' Biden to address Congress on April 28 NY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap MORE said Monday that Congress must ‘get to the truth’ of the causes of the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying the House will move quickly to establish a 9/11 Commission-style review of the deadly attack and the security failures that allowed a mob to overrun the Capitol.” https://politi.co/2NAFIiU


Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US health officials call for J&J vaccine pause over rare blood clots | White House seeks to reassure Five questions raised by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause Biden says vaccine supply not impacted by J&J pause MORE worried about getting COVID-19 in the Trump White House:

In an interview with “Axios on HBO,” the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said he worried about getting exposed to COVID-19 while working in the Trump White House. https://bit.ly/3ppPKRi

In Fauci’s words: “I didn’t fixate on that, but it was in the back of my mind because I had to be out there I mean, particularly when I was going to the White House every day when the White House was sort of a super-spreader location. I mean, that made me a little bit nervous.”

Watch the full clip of Fauci describing his nervousness in the White Househttps://bit.ly/3jVqeCr

Keep in mind: Fauci is 80 years old.


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 27,699,644

U.S. death toll: 486,473 

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


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 54.6 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.64 million doses

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million. 

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH


Filings taxes may not be a walk in the park this year:

Via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda, “The tax-filing season is now underway after a delayed start, and it’s expected to bring challenges and confusion as taxpayers and the IRS navigate pandemic-related issues, including some pertaining to stimulus checks.” https://bit.ly/3jVGyDm 

When the IRS started accepting 2020 tax returns: Last Friday

Keep in mind if you haven’t received stimulus payments: “People who have not received any or all of the funds that they’re entitled from the two rounds of stimulus payments can reconcile that on their 2020 return.” 

It may take longer to receive your tax refunds this year: “The IRS is encouraging people to file their tax returns electronically, and to use direct deposit for refunds. While the agency expects to issue most refunds within 21 days of receiving a return, as is typical, Corbin said people who file by mail should prepare for ‘potential lengthy waits’ on any refunds.” 

What to expecthttps://bit.ly/3jVGyDm


All decked out in presidential attire:


President Biden shows off new gear for President's Day


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2LYh7o0

I have confirmation — it’s a very good boy:


A dog is seen on the tarmac




The House and Senate are meeting for pro forma sessions today. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. Biden is heading to Wisconsin this evening.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris receive the President’s Daily Brief.

5:30 p.m. EST: President Biden leaves for Milwaukee, Wis. 

9 p.m. EST: President Biden participates in a CNN town hall from Milwaukee. 

12:50 a.m. EST Wednesday: President Biden returns to the White House 

You’re invited — Thursday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Prioritizing the Patient.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/2Zsgo1f


11 a.m. EST: U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland testifies at a House subcommittee hearing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2Zkk99h 

11:30 a.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill Guatemala says it didn't sign deal with US to increase border security White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill MORE held a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2Znd3AE 

1 p.m. EST: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Aspiration & Resilience: The New Space Age.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/2Nr0Zf3


Today is National Pancake Day!

Because nothing is normal in COVID — though, you can still get free pancakes!:

Via Delish, “IHOP announced today that it is canceling National Pancake Day this year, citing concerns about the safety of guests and team members as the reason. But there's still a way you can get a free stack of pancakes at IHOP all April long.” Details and how to get free pancakeshttps://bit.ly/3qDSITX

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog with its eye on the prize, no matter the cost: https://bit.ly/3jUYCxg