The Hill's 12:30 Report - Congress' September laundry list grows

The Hill's 12:30 Report - Congress' September laundry list grows
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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.



This feels like Congress’s ‘Sunday night of the year ‘when they start thinking about all the upcoming stresses:



Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democrats are staring down a nightmare September, a month jam-packed with deadlines and bruising fights over their top priorities.”

The laundry list of things that Congress will return to: “Averting a government shutdown in a matter of days with Democrats' self-imposed deadline for advancing an infrastructure and spending package that is at the center of President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE’s economic and legislative agenda and sparking high-profile divisions.”

Plus: “That’s on top of a looming decision about the debt ceiling, a voting rights clash set to come to the Senate floor in mid-September, lingering Afghanistan fallout and, in the wake of a controversial Supreme Court decision, a heated fight over abortion.” 

When the Senate returns: Monday, though they will only be in for three days because of Yom Kippur. 

When the Senate returns: Sept. 20

What to expect


Via The Washington Post’s Tony Romm, “The next few days could prove daunting for top lawmakers in the party tasked with assembling a bill that can satisfy their past promises to remake broad swaths of the American economy.”

Starting on Thursday: “The work is set to unfold primarily in the House beginning Thursday, when the chamber has scheduled a series of grueling marathon legislative sessions to toil over the finer details of its plans.”

It’s Tuesday — 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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I feel the same way about blue bird September days:


White House lawn




The Taliban said they’re doing things differently this time:


Via Axios’s Zachary Basu, “The Taliban announced the first members of a caretaker Afghan government on Tuesday, naming Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund as acting prime minister and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as acting deputy prime minister.”

Because those names probably don’t mean anything to you — here’s the gist: “The temporary Cabinet is dominated by senior, old-guard Taliban officials, including the leader of the Haqqani network — a faction of the militant group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.”

Keep in mind: “The Taliban have offered vague assurances that they have changed since the days of their totalitarian, oppressive rule of the 1990s.” 

Yes, but…: “No women or non-Taliban figures were named to the caretaker government on Tuesday … Their rhetoric has also been undermined in many cases by the actions of Taliban fighters on the ground, with countless reports of revenge killings and women being blocked from work or school over the past several weeks.” 

More context — and everything we know


Happening on Sept. 13 — We are all ears, Antony:

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog France cancels DC gala in anger over Biden sub deal: report MORE will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Sept. 13 to answer questions on his department’s role in the Afghanistan evacuation. 

Keep in mind: “The State Department has yet to release a number of details about its planning for the withdrawal or offer a full accounting of the 124,000 people the U.S. evacuated.” 


Getting traction — what it was like for American diplomats in Kabul:

Via The Washington Post’s Joe Davidson, “With insurgent forces closing in quickly, Foreign Service officers John Johnson and Evan Davis fled their Kabul apartments so urgently that they left some possessions behind … Johnson and Davis were among the last U.S. personnel to flee Kabul after it fell to the Taliban.” 

‘American diplomats recall 20-hour days, sleeping in Kabul airport while helping those desperate to flee’:

I am in awe of Clarissa Ward:

Via The New York Times’s Katie Robertson, “[ClarissaWard, CNN’s chief international correspondent, was a center-stage broadcast reporter as she delivered her accounts, often with gunfire ringing in the background, on what it was like in Kabul in the often chaotic final days of America’s longest war. Along with her crew, she subsisted on eggs, cookies and Clif Bars while covering the U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban’s sudden return to power. At times, she couldn’t help showing emotion on the air.”

Ward told the Times: “I can’t go and sit with an Afghan woman crying her heart out that her daughters are going to have to grow up in Taliban-led Afghanistan and be just unmoved by it. And I don’t think it makes me a lesser reporter that I am moved by it.”

More from Ward’s perspective having covered the war:


Clarissa Ward interviewed Taliban fighters amid the chaotic evacuation. Watch


All together now: ‘Joe the builder. Can he fix it?’ ... Now just the Democrats in the room: ‘Joe the builder, yes he can!’:

Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan, “Lawmakers are pushing for billions in federal funding to boost global COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in Democrats' coming $3.5 trillion package, arguing that the Biden administration needs to do more to fight the pandemic worldwide and prevent dangerous new variants from forming.” 

Which lawmakers are pushing for the boost in vaccine aid globally?: More than half of House Democrats. A group of 116 Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter. Read the letter

How much money are we talking?: $34 billion 

Keep in mind: Some countries only have a small percentage of its citizens vaccinated. That is potentially fertile breeding ground for future variants that could threaten the world.  

How this could play out


More from the USA TODAY/Ipsos poll:


The U.S. has hit 40 million reported COVID-19 cases.  

For context: “In the last month alone, there have been 4 million new cases recorded in the U.S., along with more than 32,000 new deaths. The seven-day average case count last week was as high as it's been since January.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 40,022,522 

U.S. death toll: 649,198 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 374 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 982,320 doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers:


Kevin McCarthy, the face of the opposition:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, “The public spotlight around the investigation into the Capitol attack of Jan. 6 has shifted squarely onto Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Top Democrats tout California recall with an eye toward 2022 Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (Calif.), the GOP leader who has emerged as the face of defiant opposition to the congressional probe into the deadly riot.” 

In the past week: “The focus on his role … has only intensified over the past week, when McCarthy took the remarkable step of threatening the nation's tech and telecom giants with unnamed repercussions if they comply with the investigators’ request to retain the phone and social media records of GOP lawmakers who actively supported the effort to block President Biden's electoral victory.” 

What this means for McCarthy — and for the investigation


Ahh, congratulations!!!:


Buttigeig's with their babies



I’m sorry, what?:


Giraffe at the beach




The House and Senate meeting for pro forma sessions today. President Biden is in New York and New Jersey today.  

8:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.

9:50 a.m. EDT: President Biden left for Hillsborough Township, N.J. Video of Biden’s departure 

2:10 p.m. EDT: President Biden tours a neighborhood in Manville, N.J. 

4 p.m. EDT: President Biden tours a neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. 

7:15 p.m. EDT: President Biden returns to Washington, D.C.


10:45 a.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Psaki says White House offered 'early stage call' to Nicki Minaj Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One. Livestream

12:15 p.m. EDT: Local leaders in Hillsborough Township, N.J., brief President Biden on the impact of Hurricane Ida. Livestream

4:40 p.m. EDTPresident Biden delivers remarks on his administration’s response to Hurricane Ida. Livestream


Today is National Salami Day.

And to keep the last little bits of summer going, here’s a dog living its best life: