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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback

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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: Biden to announce Afghanistan troop withdrawal | Pushback from lawmakers | White House to brief senators on Afghan plan | Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyGAO report finds maternal mortality rates higher in rural, underserved areas Republicans attack Biden agenda after disappointing jobs report Bad jobs report amplifies GOP cries to end 0 benefits boost MORE retires from Congress | Spector of vaccine hesitancy rises | Five questions raised by J&J pause | Bernie Madoff dies at 82 | Surgeon General’s son joins morning TV appearance

 

 
IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Joe: ‘We out!’: 

President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE is expected to announce today that he will order all U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by September. https://bit.ly/3e5oTpU

Keep in mind about this September: It marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

 

WATCH BIDEN’S UPCOMING REMARKS TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT HE SAYS:

Biden’s remarks are expected to begin at 2:15 p.m. EDT. C-SPAN livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3mK343c

JUST RELEASED — EXCERPTS OF BIDEN’S AFTERNOON REMARKS:

The gist: Biden will say that he refuses to pass the responsibility of the Afghanistan war to a fifth president. https://bit.ly/3dhcikx 

Biden will say: “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result … I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

How lawmakers are reacting to that news — *not* *well*:

Republicans and some Democrats are pushing back on President Biden’s decision. https://bit.ly/3e5oTpU

Why: Lawmakers “warn that leaving too early or without the right conditions could result in a sharp backslide.”

From Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWashington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ky.): “Precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership.” 

^ SO NOW, SENATORS WILL BE BRIEFED ON BIDEN’S PLAN FOR AFGHANISTAN:

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) told CNN's "New Day": "There are questions that remain. ...The administration has agreed to a classified briefing for all senators, which we'll have shortly so questions can be answered.” https://bit.ly/3dfTBgR

By the way, we don’t know when the briefing will happen or who will conduct the briefing. We just know that a briefing by the administration will happen.

 

THE HILL EVENTS

WATCH LIVE: The Hill's virtual Sustainability Imperative summit starts today!

 

 

Environmental sustainability is no longer optional; it's become an imperative. Join The Hill for a national multi-day virtual event including multiple tracks of programming featuring fireside chats with policy leaders and practitioners in the sustainability ecosystem including White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter MORE, former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington bans open carry of weapons at state capitol, public protests Washington state to provide free menstrual hygiene products in school bathrooms Cuomo signs legislation restoring voting rights to felons upon release from prison MORE, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, fashion designer Tracy Reese and many moreView the full schedule

 

INTERESTING READ — ‘WILL AFGHANISTAN BECOME A TERRORISM SAFE HAVEN ONCE AGAIN?’:

Via The New York Times’s Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt, “Not likely, at least in the short term, intelligence officials assess. But stopping terrorism groups over the long term could be more difficult.” https://nyti.ms/3smbAqm

Happening on April 28:

President Biden is expected to address Congress on April 28, which is close to his 100-day mark in office. https://bit.ly/3g6slDy 

How this came about: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) invited Biden to speak. 

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

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 MORNING

Kevin Brady has had his fill:

Via The Texas Tribune’s Abby Livingston, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced this morning that he will retire from Congress at the end of his term. https://bit.ly/3asCbw3

“First elected in 1996, Brady is one of the most senior members of the Texas delegation and a powerful player within the House Republican conference.”

Is this retirement surprising?: No. “The announcement was widely expected as he was facing a term limit in his role as the top Republican at the House Ways and Means Committee, which legislates tax law.” 

Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, Brady acknowledged that the term limit played a role in the decision to retire: "Did that factor in? Honestly, some," Brady said. https://bit.ly/3mLKDv6

Bernie Madoff has died:

Via CNBC’s Marty Steinberg, “Bernard Madoff, mastermind of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, ripping off tens of thousands of clients of as much as $65 billion, died Wednesday. He was 82.” https://cnb.cx/3gaHT9q 

Keep in mind: “Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the prison, where he had been treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease … He pleaded guilty in 2009 to a scheme that investigators said started in the early 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades.” 

IN CONGRESS

Spotted: Mitch McConnell repeatedly whispering to himself, ‘I will not take the bait. I will not take the bait. I will not take the bait.’:

The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Alexander Bolton give an inside look at the surprisingly close relationship between President Biden and key centrist Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Jill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip MORE (W.V.). https://bit.ly/2Q5VF2h 

How they’re similar: “Manchin has always seen himself in the Biden mold: Someone who is willing to cross party lines to find a compromise. They share the same first name and working-class roots, as well as a willingness to work together on heated issues including gun reform.” 

Why it’s particularly interesting: Manchin has been seen as the impediment for passing Biden’s own agenda. 

For example: “Manchin opposed a $15 federal minimum wage, doesn’t want to raise the corporate tax to 28 percent as proposed by Biden and wants to keep the filibuster, which requires Democrats to get 60 votes on major legislation to steer bills to Biden’s desk.”

Tidbit from Billy Evans’s memorial service yesterday:

 

President Biden meets with family of Capitol Officer William Evans

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3mPLXNt 

And here’s a photo of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans’s son wearing a police hathttps://bit.ly/3deU4jq

Another tidbit — I see what he did there:

 

Vice President Harris on a milk carton

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3dhNEAk 

And here’s a photo of Scalise holding the milk cartonhttps://bit.ly/3mQhuyP

NEW — KAMALA HARRIS WILL VISIT MEXICO AND GUATEMALA SOON:

Vice President Harris said Wednesday she will travel soon to Mexico and Guatemala as part of her efforts to address migration from the Northern Triangle region of Central America to the U.S.” https://bit.ly/3uP6JQ3 

Harris told reporters this morning: "Our focus is to deal with the root causes, and I’m looking forward to traveling, hopefully as my first trip to the Northern Triangle stopping in Mexico and then going to Guatemala sometime soon.”

 

THE HILL EVENTS

WATCH LIVE: The Hill's virtual Sustainability Imperative summit starts today!

 

 

Environmental sustainability is no longer optional; it's become an imperative. Join The Hill today for a national multi-day virtual event including multiple tracks of programming featuring fireside chats with policy leaders and practitioners in the sustainability ecosystem including White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Gov. Jay Inslee, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, fashion designer Tracy Reese and many moreView the full schedule.

 

LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

We’re nearing what could be a frustrating stage in the pandemic — more doses than arms:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “Vaccine hesitancy is on its way to becoming the main hurdle in the fight against the virus, experts say.” https://bit.ly/3deoxyi

How so: “Vaccinations are becoming more plentiful. The nation has recently been averaging more than 3 million vaccination shots per day, bringing relief to people desperate for protection … But what happens when all those people are vaccinated? Millions of Americans seem likely to decline the vaccine — and their reluctance is only heightened by any bad news, such as the suspension of the J&J vaccine.”  

How this could play outhttps://bit.ly/3deoxyi

WHAT THE J&J PAUSE MEANS FOR THE VACCINE ROLLOUT:

Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivanhttps://bit.ly/3a6vSxO

FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE J&J VACCINE HOLD:

  1. Who made the decision to pause and why?
  2. Who is impacted?
  3. How long will the pause last? 
  4. Will the pause impact the U.S.’s vaccine supply and ability to reach the goal of 200 million doses in President Biden’s first 100 days? 
  5. How could the pause affect vaccine hesitancy across the country?   

What we know about each, via The Hill’s Justine Colemanhttps://bit.ly/3tdPgR0

IF YOU’VE RECEIVED THE J&J VACCINE AND HAVE QUESTIONS:

Here’s a helpful segment on WAMU Radio: https://bit.ly/3than4U

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 31,350,152 

U.S. death toll: 563,510 

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

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 192 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 3.38 million doses

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

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

IN OTHER NEWS

A combination high-five, fist bump, half-hug, pat-on-the-back might be in order:

 

 

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is seeking to end his running feud with President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE, which escalated this weekend when the former president insulted him as a ‘dumb son of a bitch’ and a ‘stone-cold loser’ for not backing his false claims about the election.” https://bit.ly/32djwzx 

McConnell says he wants no part in a feud with Trump: “What I’m concentrating on is the future and what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration, with a slight majority in the House, a 50-50 Senate trying to transform America into something no one voted for last year,” McConnell told reporters. “That’s what I’m concentrating on,” he said, ignoring a follow-up question on Trump.

How this could play outhttps://bit.ly/32djwzx

NOTABLE TWEETS:

This is VERY cute — and impressive that he doesn’t lose his train of thought!:

His son starts to appear around the 90-second mark.

 

Dad interrupted by son during TV segment

 

Watchhttps://bit.ly/3uPBBQB

It’s amazing how different the street looks now, but I can still see it:

 

Ford's Theatre in 1865

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3sfoLt1

^For reference: Here are photos of those buildings now: https://bit.ly/3tgSKlW

ON TAP:

Today – Friday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “The Sustainability Imperative.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/3wZ80pQ 

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

10 a.m. EDT: Vice President Harris convened a virtual roundtable on the Northern Triangle.  

10:15 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief. 

11:45 a.m. EDT: Two roll call votes in the Senate.

3:05 p.m. EDT: President Biden visits Arlington National Cemetery. 

3:30 p.m. EDT: Two roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda todayhttps://bit.ly/3scY3RP

4:30 – 6 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agendahttps://bit.ly/3mLhkc4

WHAT TO WATCH:

10 a.m. EDT: Day 13 of the Derek Chauvin trial. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3mMVFAd

11 a.m. EDT: The White House COVID Response Team held a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3tiIbPf

12:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiFrench police deploy tear gas on protestors supporting Palestinians in Paris White House says safety of journalists is 'paramount' after Gaza building bombed Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions MORE holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2Qpoabe

2:15 p.m. EDT: President Biden delivers remarks on Afghanistan. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3mK343c

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Pecan Day

And to get you through your Wednesday afternoon, here’s a man taking his pet goose on a walk: https://bit.ly/3mK4GtQ