The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's agenda faces more difficulties


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

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Infrastructure negotiations extend | Portman says package ‘90 percent of the way there’ | Dems say more outstanding issues | Biden’s agenda gets even more difficult | GOP plans to demand spending reforms in exchange for debt ceiling raise | German gymnasts sport unitards over leotards | Steve Kornacki in Tokyo for Olympic coverage



Picture the sloth from Zootopia and internalize that feeling:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democrats are bracing for a slog as they try to craft a sweeping $3.5 trillion spending plan that is the key to President Biden's legislative agenda.” 

It doesn’t end with the bipartisan infrastructure package: “Though much of the public focus has been on separate bipartisan talks on a $1.2 trillion deal — which one senator characterized as the ‘easiest part’ of the two-track strategy because of its narrow focus — big headaches await Democrats on their go-it-alone strategy for their larger bill that faces intense GOP opposition.” 

The next step is even more difficult: “To pass the Democratic-only plan, which includes a laundry list of the party’s top priorities such as expanding Medicare, immigration reform and combating climate change, they will need to come up with a proposal that satisfies all 50 members of their Senate caucus. In the House, their margins are nearly as thin: They can lose four Democrats.”

That’s a nice debt ceiling plan you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Senate Republicans plan to demand big spending reforms in exchange for their support of legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, seeking leverage to rein in President Biden’s plan to pump trillions of dollars into the economy.” 

That’s a pretty risk move though: “GOP senators are reviving demands they made in 2011, the last time there was a political standoff over raising the debt limit, but it’s a risky move. The 2011 debt limit was solved at the last moment, and a subsequent downgrading of the nation’s creditworthiness by S&P triggered a stock market crash.” 

Timing — we are on the clock: “The issue is coming to a head, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Friday that the debt limit will likely have to be raised by the end of September and urged Congress to do so under regular order, which means finding at least 10 Republican votes to support it in the Senate.”  

What to expect

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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Step right up, Adam.:

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) has added centrist Republican Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out Kinzinger says Trump 'winning' because many Republicans 'have remained silent' 'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot MORE (Ill.) to join the special committee to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6. 

Is Kinzinger a surprise?: Not at all. He is a fierce Trump critic and was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE.

TIDBIT — Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out Kinzinger says Trump 'winning' because many Republicans 'have remained silent' 'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot MORE MAY DELIVER AN OPENING STATEMENT:

Via The Washington Post’s Marianna Sotomayor, “Democrats are seeking to elevate the role of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on the committee examining the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, scheduling her to deliver one of the two opening statements at the panel’s first public hearing on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the decision.”

If you were wondering how Kevin McCarthy felt about the Republican members on the committee:


McCarthy calls Kinzinger, Cheney "Pelosi Republicans"




^ This is becoming quite the evergreen section name, huh?:

The bipartisan group of senators working on the infrastructure package is still working to finalize their proposal. 

Monday was the goal to begin debate: The group had hoped that all the issues would be resolved by today, but they are still working on a few outstanding disagreements.

How far along are they: “about 90 percent of the way there,” according to Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R-Ohio), who is leading the negotiations. Portman says mass transit is the only outstanding issue to be resolved, but Democrats say that list is longer than just one item. 

What to expect this week: “The group is hoping to quickly finalize their agreement and be able to provide the 10 GOP votes needed to start debate this week. Republicans blocked the debate last week as the bipartisan negotiators tried to finalize their agreement after announcing late last month with President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE that they had agreed to a $1.2 trillion framework.”  

Full breakdown from The Hill’s Jordain Carney


Government spending — ‘tis the season: “The House is expected to start moving bills to fund the government after the end of September to the floor this week. The House is scheduled to vote on a $617 billion package that combines seven out of the 12 government funding bills.”

Nominations: The Senate will vote on Todd Kim’s nomination to be an assistant attorney general. 

Details for both


Announced this morning — new requirements for NYC municipal workers:

Via The New York Times’s Emma Fitzsimmons and Sharon Otterman, “New York City will require all municipal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the time schools reopen in mid-September or face weekly testing, Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThree arrested for allegedly assaulting NYC hostess who asked for COVID-19 vaccine proof Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE announced Monday morning.”

Timing — if this news seems familiar to you: “Last week, Mr. de Blasio announced a similar mandate for public health care workers — part of an effort to speed up vaccinations as the city faces a third wave of coronavirus cases driven by the spread of the Delta variant.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 34,446,383

U.S. death toll: 610,892 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 342 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 590,100 doses

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

Breakdown of the numbers:



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German gymnasts wore unitards instead of the traditional leotards:

Via The Washington Post’s Des Bieler, “Germany’s female gymnasts stood out from other Tokyo Olympics competitors Sunday during a team qualifying round by wearing unitards, rather than traditional leotards.”  

Back story — this isn’t the first time: “They first wore the bodysuits in competition during the European championships in April, when the German Gymnastics Federation said the choice of apparel was meant to counteract ‘sexualization’ in the sport.”  



Here’s the medal count, via FiveThirtyEight:

This is a bit worrisome:


Robots shooting free throws



Umm, this video is even crazier

Close-up photos of the robot: Wow, it made all three shots.


This is a) hilarious but b) triggering:


Metro themed wedding tables




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

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

2 p.m. EDT: President Biden participates in a bilateral meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

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


11:10 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris delivered remarks on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Livestream 

12:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House debates vaccines for air travel France's Macron to speak to Biden about submarine deal Why does Biden's vaccine mandate not apply to welfare recipients and others? MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream


Today is National Coffee Milkshake Day.

Ahh hahahaaha:


Steve Kornacki with Olympic coverage



Leslie Jones has been narrating the Olympics in her own, perfect way. Her Twitter feed is worth checking out if you want some entertainment

And to brighten your Monday, here is your classic bait-and-switch: