The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Pence sets the stage for 2024


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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: Pence sets the stage for 2024 | Gaetz privately asked Trump for blanket pardon | Harris moves into VP residence, sells DC condo | FLOTUS spotted leaving barre | Biden rules out involvement in ‘vaccine passports’ | Accelerating pace of vaccines could mean return to normalcy | Ode to DCA's Gate 35X



Idk what year you’re thinking about — 2022? 2023? 2025? 2026?: 

Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels, Former Vice President Pence is launching a conservative political advocacy group called “Advancing American Freedom.” https://bit.ly/3msyAmd 

Former Trump officials that will advise the Pence’s groupKellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Pence sets the stage for 2024 Biden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet MORE, Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE, Russ Vought, Seema Verma, Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes Overnight Energy: EPA pledges new focus on environmental justice | Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers | Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers MORE, Robert LighthizerBob LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE and David Bernhardt.

The policy areas where the group will focus: “The economy, foreign policy and ‘American liberties’ like school choice and anti-abortion policies.” 

Why this group is particularly important for Pence — *cough 2024 cough*: “The launch of the advocacy group is Pence's latest bid to remain a key player in conservative politics. Since leaving office, he has joined the Heritage Foundation as a distinguished visiting fellow where he has a regular column and podcast, and he also joined former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) Young America's Foundation as a scholar.”

Go home, UK variant — you’re not welcome in the UK or here (or anywhere for that matter):

Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan, “A more contagious variant of coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain of the virus in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyWashington state lawmakers push to provide lawyers for residents facing eviction Would closing the borders limit deadly foreign strains of COVID-19? Overnight Health Care: White House rebuffs call to send more vaccine doses to certain states | White House warns states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments MORE said Wednesday.” https://bit.ly/31TlgOn 

Meaning case spikes can happen: “The announcement highlights the ongoing risks from the virus, given that the variant, known as B.1.1.7, spreads more easily and therefore is more able to cause spikes in cases.”  

Keep in mind — the current vaccines DO work well against this variant (!): “Importantly, officials say the current vaccines work well against the variant, meaning that the accelerating vaccination campaign will help control the virus even with the rise of this variant.”


“There is a ‘possible link’ between AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, according to the European Union's top drug regulator, but the benefits of the drug still outweigh the risks.” https://bit.ly/3cX7519

Are people still getting that vaccine?: “Still, the agency placed no new restrictions on the use of the vaccine, which is currently being used in people age 18 and older.” 

Keep in mind: The vaccine has not yet been authorized in the U.S.

Spotted this morning:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3fX17Ps 

Via Popville: https://bit.ly/39MrVOE 

CNN’s Kate Bennett pointed out: “[First lady Jill Biden] went to @barre3 this morning. boutique exercise is back, nature is healing, etc.” https://bit.ly/3mq8FLY

Happy 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

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ExxonMobil – reducing emissions and capturing carbon



ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions is working to advance breakthrough technologies, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and other technologies, from our extensive, industry-leading R&D portfolio. 

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What Biden means: ‘We aren’t touching that with a 10-foot pole’:

Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels, “White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Florida newspaper blasts DeSantis's ban on COVID-19 passports: 'Makes no sense' Libertarian writer Robby Soave details concerns with 'vaccine passports' MORE on Tuesday ruled out the Biden administration playing any role in a ‘vaccine passport’ system as Republican governors in particular balk at the concept.” https://bit.ly/39OFCwm

In Jen Psaki’s words: "The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”


How so, via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfanthttps://bit.ly/3dHVPES

‘Hi, I’m Kamala Harris. Welcome to my crib. Let me show you around!’:

Via CNN’s Jasmine Wright, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff moved into their new residence at the Naval Observatory last night after renovations. https://cnn.it/3tao3ys 

Where had they been living up until then?: At Blair House



Vice President Harris's condo for sale


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2Q3ZeG4 

More photos of the listinghttps://bit.ly/3rRxIIR


Seeking special approval from the Wizard of Oz:

The Senate Parliamentarian ruled to allow Democrats to bypass the filibuster and pass two more bills with a simple majority. What this means: https://bit.ly/3dGhsW7


  1. Biden can potentially get a lot more done without GOP support
  2. It further erodes the power of the filibuster
  3. It gives even more power to Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinClose the avenues of foreign meddling Democrats see political winner in tax fight MSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' MORE(D-W.V.)
  4. It decouples the legislative schedule from budgeting
  5. It takes pressure off the debt ceiling

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Niv Elishttps://bit.ly/3dGhsW7


It’s a game-changer for Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border MORE (D-N.Y.), who now has more options for passing President BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE’s agenda. https://bit.ly/31TpzJw

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/31VJojw

Asking for a blanket pardon is BOLD, my man:

Via The New York Times’s Michael S. Schmidt, Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Pence sets the stage for 2024 Trump frustrated with pace of super PAC Media stumbles: Its bias shows in covering Biden v. Trump MORE and Nicholas Fandos, Trump ally Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzDefiant Gaetz tells GOP conference the 'truth will prevail' Ex-Rep. Katie Hill: 'Gross' for Gaetz to invoke my name House panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations MORE (R-Fla.) asked former President TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE for a blanket pardon in the final weeks of Trump’s term. https://nyti.ms/3rWY1xt 

Keep in mind: “It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said.”  

For context from Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith, who tracked Trump’s pardons. “If Trump had granted it, which he didn’t, the pardon would have on some dimensions been the most audacious of his many audacious pardons.”


Former President Trump denied that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) asked for a blanket pardon. https://bit.ly/3utPaVv

Trump said in a statement: “Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon. It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”

John Boehner LET LOOSE on feelings about Donald Trump:

Via The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, Former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Cruz on Boehner: 'I wear with pride his drunken, bloviated scorn' Boehner on Clinton impeachment: 'I regret that I didn't fight against it' MORE (R-Ohio) blames former President Trump for the deadly Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. https://nyti.ms/3dAfE0I

In Boehner’s words: “‘Watching it was scary, and sad. It should have been a wake-up call for a return to Republican sanity.’ Nodding to the divisions between the parties in Congress now, he writes, ‘Whatever they end up doing, or not doing, none of it will compare to one of the lowest points of American democracy that we lived through in January 2021.’”  

Boehner continued: Trump “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November.” 

Boehner had some choice words for the Republican Party, as well: Boehner writes that Republicans must “take back control from the faction that had grown to include everyone from garden-variety whack jobs to insurrectionists.” 

More excerpts from Boehner’s bookhttps://nyti.ms/3dAfE0I

Hey team, let’s help the FBI:


FBI wanted


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3mo7E7e



ExxonMobil – reducing emissions and capturing carbon



ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions is working to advance breakthrough technologies, including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and other technologies, from our extensive, industry-leading R&D portfolio. 

Learn more.



*Insert small, quiet, internal cheer while keeping cool externally*:



Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan, “The accelerating pace of vaccinations across the United States is offering hope that something close to normality is on the horizon.” https://bit.ly/3fRLLvI 

How so: “A significant taming of the pandemic in the U.S. could be just a matter of a few weeks, with an average 3 million people being vaccinated each day and 4 million alone getting shots on Saturday. Across the country, more than 75 percent of people 65 or older have received at least one shot, as have more than 40 percent of all adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” 

What happens now — scenarios of how this could play outhttps://bit.ly/3fRLLvI


The five states: New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. https://bit.ly/39OoCGQ


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 30,850,829

U.S. death toll: 556,561

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


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 169 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 3 million doses

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

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


Btw, Caitlyn Jenner is considering running for California governor:

Via Axios’s Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene, “Former reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner is talking with political consultants as she actively explores a run for governor of California, three sources with direct knowledge of her deliberations tell Axios.” https://bit.ly/3fPjpCu

There’s more: “Jenner is being assisted in her consideration by Caroline Wren, a longtime GOP fundraiser … Wren previously worked at Trump Victory … and also helped organize the rally he addressed immediately before the U.S. Capitol assault on Jan. 6.” 

The full storyhttps://bit.ly/3fPjpCu


Hahaha, amazing:


Obama bees headline


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3mrWH4k

Getting traction — this is good content:

This has more than 438k likes. 


Birds behind glasses of water


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3my4cXO


The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

9:50 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.


10 a.m. EDT: Day 8 of the trial of Derek ChauvinLivestreamhttps://bit.ly/3uzOn5H

10:30 a.m. EDT: The White House COVID Response Team held a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3upkzZa 

12:15 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo are holding a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3rRAVZ2 

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Biden delivers remarks on the American Jobs Plan. Vice President Harris also attends. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/39PPTJ3


Today is National Beer Day!

This was a fun read — ‘Goodbye to Gate 35X, cursed portal to the rest of America’:

Via The Washington Post’s Dan Zak, “It was a funnel, a choke point, a cattle call. One gate, as many as 6,000 travelers per day. The ceilings were lower. The seats were all taken, as were the electrical outlets. There was no bathroom down there, no vending machine, no water fountain. Dante’s circles were over-invoked. The complaining was olympic. Queues kinked in our slow sprint to somewhere else, through a bay of four doors, via shuttle rides that were short distances but long journeys, onto small regional jets bound for second-tier American cities.” https://wapo.st/2Q8ExZG

This made me lol: “Gate 35X was the great equalizer. It made big shots small. In the span of five hours, a corporate lobbyist could go from Grey Goose at Cafe Milano to meat sweats on a sardined bus.” 

The full story on the DCA gate — it’s so well writtenhttps://wapo.st/2Q8ExZG

And because you made it this far, here’s a pretty confused dog: https://bit.ly/3t1Am00