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
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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 TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 HahnTrump discussed sending infected Americans to Guantanamo Bay: book Stephen Hahn joining venture capital firm behind Moderna Redfield says Azar pressured him to revise COVID-19 data reports 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 overwhelming 

Meanwhile — this is a little too real


Tweet asking how come it feels like it is always March



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 — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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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.” 

Details — read the White House’s announcement

President BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News 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.”

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 PelosiCapitol riot defendants have started a jail newsletter: report On The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure 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.”


Anthony FauciAnthony FauciAstraZeneca CEO: 'Not clear yet' if boosters are needed St. Louis official says he was targeted with racist slurs over mask promotion McConnell: 'It never occurred to me' convincing Americans to get vaccinated would be difficult 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.

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 House

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 numbers


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:


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.” 

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 expect


All decked out in presidential attire:


President Biden shows off new gear for President's Day



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 RSVP


11 a.m. EST: U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland testifies at a House subcommittee hearing. Livestream 

11:30 a.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOn The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration Why in the world are White House reporters being told to mask up again? MORE held a press briefing. Livestream 

1 p.m. EST: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Aspiration & Resilience: The New Space Age.” Details and how to RSVP


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 pancakes

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog with its eye on the prize, no matter the cost: