The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display


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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: A House Divided | Jobless Claims Fall | Rubio vs. Murphy Redux? | Cy Vance Has Trump’s Taxes | 50 Million Vaccines Administered



A House divided: 

Driving the entire 117th Congress: Democrats are raging at Republicans over the Jan. 6 insurrection, a boiling anger that threatens permanent bad blood in an already-narrowly divided House and Senate. Rep. Sean CastenSean CastenDemocrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Newman fundraises off of growing feud with Marjorie Taylor Greene MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday forced a full floor vote on a bill to rename a Post Office in Mississippi, offered by a member who voted to challenge election results. A hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyTammy Duckworth pressures postal service board on firing DeJoy House Democrats introduce 'DeJoy Act' to block postal service changes Let's end the Postal Service political theater and create needed reforms MORE erupted in shouts between Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTop House Republicans ask Harris for meeting on border The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Waters: Fauci 'was being bullied' by Jordan during hearing MORE (R-Ohio). And Rep. Hakim Jeffries (D-N.Y.) accused Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House readies for Chauvin verdict McCarthy to introduce resolution to censure Waters House GOP's McClain responds to Pelosi calling her 'that woman' MORE (R-Calif.) of giving “aid and comfort” to insurrectionists. My colleagues Scott Wong and Mike Lillis on a House divided, here.

From my own notebook: Lots of members shared particularly raw memories for our oral history of the Jan. 6 insurrection, but I was most taken aback by Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithDemocrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first Progressive lawmakers press DHS chief on immigration detention Overnight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision MORE (D-Wash.). The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is laid back and pretty open to working across the aisle.

Here’s what he told me at the end of our interview, about his Republican colleagues who voted to overturn election results: “Maybe they’ve rationalized it in some way that I haven’t fully worked out, but at that point I’m not working with you if you believe in the violent end to our constitutional republic, then we really don’t have much more to talk about at a political level. And that’s going to make it difficult going forward.” 

“I look forward to sort of rebuilding a relationship, but also a legitimate conservative party in this country instead of the batshit crazy fascist conspiracy theory that too much of the Republican Party and the conservative movement has become,” Smith said.

It’s Thursday. I’m Reid Wilson, filling in for Cate, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to rwilson@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @PoliticsReid and @CateMartel

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Harris the Giant:

Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, Vice President Harris joined Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonHouse committee approves DC statehood bill House committee expected to pass DC statehood bill on Wednesday DC delegate pushes for removing Capitol fence despite car attack MORE (D) at a Giant pharmacy in Southwest D.C. Thursday morning to encourage people to get the coronavirus vaccine when it’s their turn. Harris got her first shot at United Medical Center in Southeast, which serves Wards 7 and 8 – where vaccination rates have lagged the rest of the city. Story here.

US to accuse MBS:

The White House today will release a report from the U.S. intelligence community that lays blame for the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi at the feet of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The report will show bin Salman personally approved, and likely ordered, the 2018 killing. President BidenJoe BidenObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Biden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' MORE said Wednesday he had read the report. Pointedly, he has spoken to King Salman, but not the Crown Prince.

Jobless claims drop:

Initial jobless claims for the week ending Feb. 20 dropped to 730,000, well below expectations and one of the lowest figures since the pandemic began. That’s good news, but economists warn that those figures are uniquely susceptible to seasonal distortions or fraudulent claims. Still, almost 1 in 8 workers are collecting unemployment benefits.

Speaking of fraud: I wrote about the avalanche of fraudulent claims that is costing states tens of billions of dollars, earlier this week. In California alone, we’re talking up to $30 billion in fraud.

The World Wide Web:

The United States has conducted counterterrorism operations in 85 countries in just the last three years, according to a new report from Brown University’s Watson Institute. U.S. service members engaged in combat in eight nations — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria — and conducted drone strikes in Libya. Check out the crazy graphic showing the U.S. military’s post-World War II expansion of bases and smaller installations.


Murphy testing waters in Florida:

Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyTrump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida Blue Dogs push House leadership to allow more member input Don't cut or condition US military aid to Israel MORE (D) is launching a listening tour across Florida as she considers a bid against Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE (R) in 2022. If she doesn’t challenge Rubio, she’s open to running for Sen. Rick Scott’s (R) seat in 2024, she told The Hill. Rubio beat Rep. Patrick MurphyPatrick Erin MurphyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Mast fends off Democratic challenge to retain Florida House seat Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Indian reservation MORE (D) 52 percent to 44 percent in 2016. 

For the radar: Florida Democrats are putting a decent team on the field early this cycle, as state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) makes moves to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis signs 'anti-riot bill' cracking down on 'public disorder' WHO panel comes out against requiring vaccination proof for travel Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives MORE (R). On the other hand, we’re old enough to remember strong Florida Democratic tickets that have lost in the past. Democrats haven’t won a Senate seat since Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHas the Biden administration abandoned the idea of a moon base? Cuba readies for life without Castro Why does Rep. Johnson oppose NASA's commercial human landing system? MORE won re-election in 2012, and they haven’t won the governorship since Lawton Chiles won re-election in 1994 – against some guy named Jeb Bush


Rep. Stephanie Murphy


CPAC it all in:

Potential 2022 Republican Senate candidates are descending on CPAC this weekend. Among the speakers: Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), ex-Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs (Both R-Ariz.), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.). NRSC chairman Rick Scott’s speech, scheduled for Friday: “The Way Forward: Unlocking our churches, our voices, and our social media accounts.” 

Dept. of SMH Alert: Brooks will appear on a panel about protecting elections.



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Boosters in the crowd:

Pfizer and BioNTech are kicking off a study to test whether a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine would help protect against variants of the coronavirus popping up around the world. They’re in the midst of ongoing discussions with regulators about updating the vaccine to deal with the South African variant. Moderna has sent an updated version of its vaccine that may work better against that South African variant to NIH for study. 

Real talk: The speed at which new vaccines can be created is the genius of mRNA technology. Mark our words, the NIH developers behind it are in line for a Nobel Prize. Remember the name Kizzmekia Corbett. You’ll hear from her a lot in the future.

By the way, Brown University School of Public Health Dean Ashish Jha says he’s optimistic about the downward trend of the virus. We love that his hometown paper, the Providence Journal, hangs on his every word.


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 28,338,150 

U.S. death toll: 506,121

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


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 66.5 million doses have been administered in the United States, and 218 million across the globe.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.3 million doses are being given every day. 

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

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


Be The Good:


Be The Good Little Free Food Pantry 


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/37KK3Y4

Backstory: Amber Marchand, a former top official at the NRSC and for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), has spent the last few months launching the nonprofit Be The Good, which feeds needy families in Arlington and Alexandria. She’s using some of The Hill’s old newspaper boxes to create little food pantries. Read about Be The Good here.


The House and Senate are in today. The Senate resumes consideration of Energy Secretary-designee Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Congress returns; infrastructure takes center stage Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Senate Republican targets infrastructure package's effect on small business job creators MORE’s nomination. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, where they will participate in an event marking the administration of the 50 millionth coronavirus vaccine. First lady Jill Biden will appear on The Kelly Clarkson Show at 2 p.m. 

2:15 p.m. EST: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hold a press conference ahead of the anticipated passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act. 

5:45 p.m. EST: CPAC officially kicks off in Florida today, ahead of Saturday’s anticipated speech by former President Trump.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office says they have obtained former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s tax returns after a Supreme Court ruling gave them the go-ahead. A spokesman said the subpoena was enforced Monday, the same day the Court ruled.


1:30 p.m. EST: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Race & Justice Imperative.” Details and livestream: https://bit.ly/2NRntWE


Today is National Clam Chowder Day, National Chili Day and National Chocolate Covered Nut Day.

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog practicing its flying lessons: https://bit.ly/3pHJYKV


Dog jumps over water