The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Biden's European trip



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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: Sights and sounds from Biden’s European trip | Meets with the Queen | Biden’s upcoming Putin meeting expected to be frosty | Biden to hold solo news conference after | House returns amid infrastructure talks | Happening on Capitol Hill this week | Novavax COVID vaccine shown highly effective in trial | Five big Supreme Court decisions to watch



Now, what’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!:

Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, “President BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinIs Ukraine Putin's Taiwan? Democrats find a tax Republicans can support Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE in Geneva this week marks the latest chapter in a highly adversarial relationship.”

What to expect: “The Wednesday meeting is expected to be frosty, and the White House has set expectations low, saying Biden’s goal is to put the U.S. on a path to a more predictable relationship with Moscow.” 

Throwback to 2018 — I wouldn’t expect this to be a similar vibe: “It is certain to draw sharp contrast with the 2018 summit between then-President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE and Putin in Helsinki, during which Trump triggered enormous controversy by doubting the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian election interference during a joint press conference.” 

This will tell you everything you need to know about the tensions: Biden is scheduled to hold a ~solo~ news conference after his meeting with Putin.  

What to expect

It’s Monday — welcome back! 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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Tidbit — that’s a lot of excellencies: C-SPAN’s Howard Mortman tweeted, “NUMBER OF EXCELLENCIES BIDEN WILL MEET THIS WEEK: Monday: 5, Tuesday: 2, Wednesday: 1” Screenshot to prove it:

The Bidens had a good laugh with the Queen: I would love to know what they were discussing. Photo 

This is that awkward family photo taken at the end of the day when everyone is too tired to pose.


Biden meets the Queen



Photo of President Biden landing at Windsor Castle on Marine One: Way to make an entrance!:

Today in awesome-meeting-backdrops: Here’s a photo of President Biden meeting with French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench parliament approves COVID-19 passes for restaurants, domestic travel WhatsApp chief: US allies' national security officials targeted with NSO malware US athletes chant 'Dr. Biden' as first lady cheers swimmers MORE on a beach. Photo


Don’t hate the player. Hate the rules of the game.:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (R-Ky.) signaled Monday that Republicans, if they win back control of the chamber, wouldn't advance a Supreme Court nominee if a vacancy occurred in 2024, the year of the next presidential election.” 

McConnell told Hugh Hewitt: "I think it's highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don't think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.”

*Cue TV host voice* — Coming up next on Supreme Court decisions!:

Via The Hill’s John Kruzel, “The Supreme Court is poised for a whirlwind end of term, with justices expected to clear the court’s docket of more than 20 pending cases before July.”


The cases to watch

  1. Same-sex foster parents and religious liberty
  2. ObamaCare challenge
  3. Voting rights
  4. NCAA athlete compensation
  5. Student free speech


What to expect for each


It’ssssss show time!:

The House and Senate are in this week for a busy few weeks of working on President Biden’s domestic policy agenda. 

The biggest action item — unsurprisingly infrastructure: “Democrats want to pass Biden’s $2.3 trillion jobs plan, combined with a $1.8 trillion families plan, in July, giving them a matter of weeks to get united behind both a strategy and a bill that can make it through the House and the Senate, where they hold razor-thin majorities.”  

Where infrastructure negotiations stand: A group of senators, five Republicans and five Democrats, reached a bipartisan infrastructure deal, “but the proposal has faced a lukewarm reception from both the White House and Senate Democrats.”  

Full breakdown from The Hill’s Jordain Carney


Rolling back the use of military force: “House Democrats are set to repeal a 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) originally passed by Congress for the Iraq War.”  

Nominations: “Senators are set to vote Monday evening on Katanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to be a judge for the D.C. circuit, filling the vacancy created by Merrick Garland’s confirmation as attorney general.  The Senate is also set to vote on Lisa Khan’s nomination to be federal trade commissioner and Kiran Arjandas Ahuja’s nomination to be Office of Personnel Management director.” 

By the way: Fully vaccinated House lawmakers are now not required to wear a mask in the House chamber. 

Context and details for each

Lighter tidbit — HAHA:





NBC’s Garrett Haake: “He ran the Olympics, dude. You had no chance.”

Roll Call’s Tom Williams equated it to a similarly funny photo: Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerWomen urge tech giants to innovate on office return Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (D-N.J.) is giving a reporter a run for his money. Photo  

NBC’s Benjy Sarlin: “always thought it was funny how Romney would make these self-deprecating jokes about how unathletic he was while also being like the most in-shape 74-year old I've ever seen”


Spreading good news like it’s confetti — we may have another vaccine soon!:

Via CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, “The American biotechnology company Novavax announced on Monday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to have an overall efficacy of 90.4% in a Phase 3 trial conducted across the United States and Mexico.” 

What happens next: “Despite these impressive results, the vaccine’s future in the United States is uncertain and it might be needed more in other countries. Novavax says it may not seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration until the end of September. And with a plentiful supply of three other authorized vaccines, it’s possible that the agency may tell Novavax to apply instead for a full license — a process that could require several extra months.” Full explanation from The New York Times’s Carl Zimmer


Via NBC’s Erika Edwards, “Virtually all hospitalized Covid patients have one thing in common: They're unvaccinated.”

Science is incredible: " ‘I haven't had anyone that's been fully vaccinated become critically ill,’ said Dr. Josh Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 33,462,524

U.S. death toll: 599,779 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 309 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.1 million doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers:


The way to my heart:


President Biden M&Ms




I first thought this was Photoshopped. But I don’t think it is…:


Off center house



Zoom in on the full size photo — it’s pretty cool


The House and Senate are in. President Biden is in Brussels, Belgium. Vice President Harris is in South Carolina today. 

4:15 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.

6:35 a.m. EDT: President Biden met with the prime minister of Estonia, the president of Latvia and the president of Lithuania. 

7:15 a.m. EDT: President Biden met with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO.

7:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden participates in the NATO Summit. 

10:05 a.m. EDT: Vice President Harris left for Greenville, S.C.

11 a.m. EDT: President Biden held a bilateral meeting with the president of Turkey.

1:55 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris tours a pop-up COVID vaccination site in Greenville. 

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate returns. 

3:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris meets with community leaders to discuss voting rights. 

5 p.m. EDT: The House returns from recess. 

5:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris leaves South Carolina and returns to Washington, D.C. 

5:30 p.m. EDT: Two roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda today

6:30 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today


12:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris delivers remarks at a COVID vaccination event. Livestream: 

12:50 p.m. EDT: President Biden holds a press conference from the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Livestream

3 p.m. EDT: A House hearing on evictions during the COVID pandemic. Livestream


Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day! It’s also National Bourbon Day

One of the funniest Twitter threads I’ve read in some time:

Teacher @GeorgePointon_ posted a tweet, “I asked my year 1 classes 'What's the best thing that's ever happened to you?' Here is my analysis; A THREAD” 

As you’d expect, the responses were pretty amazing.  

One of my favorites


McDonald's two toy story



The full thread of responses is pretty entertaining

And because you made it this far, here are two dogs who are quite determined and excellent at team work:


This post was updated at 1:36 p.m.