The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Key week for Biden's infrastructure goals


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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: US alternate gymnast tests positive in Japan |  Two gymnasts placed in quarantine |  Congress returns to big infrastructure week |  Republicans push back on Schumer’s Wednesday vote |  US surgeon general supports localized mask mandates |  Biden makes first Guantánamo detainee transfer



~Insert cheeky headline about it finally being **infrastructure week~:

**Well, there will always be an asterisk there. 

The Senate is back in Washington today, working last-minute details to the bipartisan infrastructure package as Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy MORE (D-N.Y.) has vowed to tee up a Wednesday vote on the bill.

Why this vote is touchy: The text of the bill has not been finalized. Oh, and the Congressional Budget Office will likely not have a score in time.

Why does the vote have to happen on Wednesday?: It’s part of Schumer’s hardball strategy to force Republicans to finalize the bipartisan bill. But Republicans are starting to voice complaints about what they call an “arbitrary” deadline. 

^ For example: Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Senate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama MORE (R-Ohio) told CNN’s “State of the Union”: “It's actually 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats putting this together. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy MORE, with all due respect, is not writing the bill, nor is [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe 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 Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE [R-Ky.], by the way. So that's why we shouldn't have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday.” And Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidySenate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-La.) told “Fox News Sunday”: “How can I vote for cloture when the bill isn't written?" 

Why the rush?: Senate Democrats want to advance this bill before they leave for the August recess. 

The vote: 60 votes are needed on Schumer’s Wednesday vote to start debate. If all Democrats vote “yes,” at least 10 Republicans will also need to vote “yes.” 

More on this week’s vote from The Hill’s Jordain Carney

It’s Monday! 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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Ughhhhh, a member of the U.S. gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19:

An alternate on the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team has tested positive for COVID-19.

Because everyone read “U.S.” “gymnast” “tests positive”: It is NOT Simone Biles or a member of the four-person team. But another alternate for the U.S. team has also been placed into quarantine because of possible exposure.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement: "On Monday, the [two alternate] Olympic athletes moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games. The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo."

The women on the U.S. delegation: Simone Biles, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner. The four alternates: Kara Eaker, Kayla DiCello, Emma Malabuyo and Leanne Wong.

Keep in mind — this isn’t the first scare: “The U.S. women's team dealt with what USA Gymnastics called a ‘false positive’ over the weekend for an unidentified athlete, but the ensuing test results for the athlete were negative, according to the organization.”

Everything we know


17-year-old U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff had to pull out of the Olympic games after testing positive for COVID-19.

A Gitmo detainee has been transferred:

Via The New York Times’s Carol Rosenberg and Charlie Savage, “The Biden administration on Monday transferred its first detainee out of Guantánamo Bay, repatriating a Moroccan man who had been recommended for discharge from the wartime prison starting in 2016 but nevertheless remained there during the Trump years.” 

Details: “The transfer of the man, Abdul Latif Nasser, 56, was the first sign of a renewed effort under President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE to winnow the population of prisoners by sending them to other countries that promise to ensure the men remain under security measures. Mr. Nasser was never charged with a crime.” 


What about buying thousands of billboards with an image of lawmakers making it rain dollar bills? With an all-caps sign, ‘GET DAT MONEY!’

^See, this is why I’m in the business that I am:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democrats are ramping up their sales pitch to voters as they bet big on government spending and lay the groundwork for their 2022 midterm message.” 

The message: “They are trying to distill two complex, massive legislative priorities — the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law and a $4.1 trillion infrastructure and social spending package — into a fairly simple message: This wouldn’t be happening without President Biden and Democrats at the helm.” 

Dems know they’ve had a hard time selling their strategy: “The early focus on messaging comes as Democrats acknowledge that they’ve struggled, and sometimes overcomplicated, their strategy on how best to break through to voters.”  

How this could play out


Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester and Sylvan Lane


Afghan visas: “The House is set to vote on legislation to expedite visas — and increase the number available — for Afghans who aided the U.S. military.” Back story: “Evacuating Afghans who helped the United States is taking on growing urgency ahead of an end-of-August deadline for the end of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which is making gains in expanding its territory, has targeted Afghan interpreters who aided the U.S. military.” 

Voting rights: “Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation | Amazon fined 6M by EU regulators Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation Bill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol MORE (D-Minn.) will hold a field hearing on Monday in Georgia on voting rights. Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockHarris's bad polls trigger Democratic worries ObamaCare 2.0 is a big funding deal Kaseya ransomware attack highlights cyber vulnerabilities of small businesses MORE (D-Ga.) is one of several people slated to testify.” 

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Jordain Carney


The US surgeon general supports localized mask mandates:

Via The Washington Post’s Amy B. Wang and Christopher Rowland, “U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said Sunday that he supports individual counties reinstating mask mandates to combat local surges of the coronavirus among unvaccinated people — like Los Angeles County did last week — as the pathogen’s highly contagious delta variant drives a spike in infections.” The full story


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 34,080,923 

U.S. death toll: 609,023

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 338 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 512,673 doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers:




Wow, I clearly remember picture day in front of a tree and how cool I thought I was with a similar pose:


Sen. Ossoff yearbook pic



More photos of senators — courtesy of CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski

Hahaha, this is amazing — Pumpkin is a star!:


Sneaky kitty



Yeah, uhhhh?:


Picture of Psaki's shoes?




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

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

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris welcome Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein to the White House 

2 p.m. EDT: The House returns. 

2:15 p.m. EDT: President Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah II hold a bilateral meeting.  

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Biden and King Abdullah II participate in an expanded bilateral meeting. 

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. 

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a judicial confirmation. The Senate’s full agenda today 

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


11:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden delivered remarks on the economic recovery and his infrastructure package. Livestream 

12:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Hunter Biden blasts those criticizing price of his art: 'F--- 'em' MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream


Today is National Daiquiri Day!

And because you made it this far, here’s a cat with an incredible disguise. Well, I can't be sure, but I ~think~ it’s a cat: