The Hill's 12:30 Report - Supreme Court resumes in-person oral arguments

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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.



To misquote Eminem — ‘Guess who's back, back again. SCOTUS’s back, tell a friend’:



The Supreme Court announced this morning that it will resume in-person oral arguments in the fall.  


Supreme Court set to return



Keep in mind — the court made a big change in spring 2020: “The nation's high court switched to a virtual argument format last spring for the first time in its history as the coronavirus pandemic began closing down in-person meetings at businesses, schools and other government buildings. The audio-only format significantly altered the fast-paced, give-and-take exchanges that the arguments are known for.” More from USA Today’s John Fritze 

And now to misquote Ke$ha and Pitbull, ‘It’s falling down. They’re yelling, ‘timber’:

Via The New York Times’s Sabrina Tavernise, the statue of Civil War general Robert E. Lee was removed from downtown Richmond, Va., this morning. 

“It was an emotional moment. The Lee statue was erected in 1890, the first of six Confederate monuments — symbols of white power that dotted the main boulevard in Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. On Wednesday, it became the last of them to be removed, opening up the story of this city to all of its residents to write.” 

More on the statue’s removal:


Watch the statue come down: You can hear people cheering, “hey, hey, hey, goodbye.” Video

The statue was cut into pieces: “Workers are cutting along a seam at Lee's waist with a power saw to make it easier to transport. Devon Henry, the lead contractor, said it’s the most complex monument removal they've done.” (Via The Richmond Times-Dispatch) 


Robert E. Lee statue removed



Here are lots of tow trucks ready

Video of the crowd watching

It’s 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 — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to:



Via Axios’s Hans Nichols, “Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-W.Va.) has privately warned the White House and congressional leaders that he has specific policy concerns with President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending dream — and he'll support as little as $1 trillion of it … At most, he's open to supporting $1.5 trillion, sources familiar with the discussions say.” 

Why Democrats have to take that threat very seriously: In the 50-50 Senate, Democrats can’t afford a single defection. If Manchin votes against the bill, the bill tanks.  

Manchin’s issue with the proposal: The price tag. For example, “Manchin has voiced concerns about Biden’s plan to spend $400 billion for home caregivers.”  

Late this morning — Schumer is not havin’ it


Schumer ready to move on with or without Manchin




“Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.) said on Wednesday that 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 sweeping spending bill should be at least $3.5 trillion, putting him on a collision course with key moderates who think the figure is too high.


Reason No. 487 why I could never be president: Imagine having a ~constant~ count on the number of people who like you in any given moment:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “President Biden’s sagging approval ratings, especially among independents, are raising questions about his ability to move his agenda through a House and Senate where centrist and liberal Democrats are battling one another.”

Should Biden be worried about support from his own party?: “Democrats aren’t running away from the president, but the approval rating hit could make it tougher for Biden to muscle moderates such as Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Biden goes after top 1 percent in defending tax hikes MORE (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) who are balking at the $3.5 trillion cost of his budget reconciliation measure.”  

Yes, but Trump’s approval was lower at this point in his presidency — and he still passed his tax-cut bill: “Republicans say Trump had much more intense support from his party’s base, which helped him move Republican votes in Congress.”

What hurt Biden’s approval: The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Biden administration didn’t expect the U.S.-backed government to fall as quickly as it did. 

What the White House is saying: “The White House has expressed confidence that most Americans support the decision to end the nation’s longest war, and that Biden will not take a long-term political hit.” 

What this means for the Biden administration

^ Oh that leads me to reason No. 488: You’re responsible for the entire U.S. economy.:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “The path of the U.S. economic recovery is looking increasingly tenuous — and that could further complicate life for President Biden, whose approval ratings have sagged in recent weeks.” 

A few bad examples: “The August jobs report came in far below expectations heading into the holiday weekend. Around 9 million Americans also lost unemployment benefits this week as COVID-19–related provisions expired. And looming over everything else is the delta variant of the coronavirus, which has dashed hopes for a sharp, linear recovery.”   

How the economy’s speedbumps could worsen Biden’s troubles


Happening tomorrow — aight, here’s the plan:

Via Reuters’s Steve HollandJeff Mason and Nandita Bose, “President Joe Biden on Thursday will present a six-pronged strategy intended to fight the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant and increase U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations, the White House said on Tuesday.” 

Where things stand — it’s not great: “Rising caseloads have raised concerns as children head back to school, while also rattling investors and upending company return-to-office plans.” 

Could Biden implement a national vaccine mandate?: 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 “acknowledged that the federal government cannot broadly mandate that Americans get vaccinated.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 40,290,187

U.S. death toll: 650,838 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 376 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 826,193 doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers:


Two more 9/11 victims have been identified:

Via NPR’s Jaclyn Diaz, “Two more victims of the 9/11 terror attacks at the World Trade Center have been identified in New York City--just days before the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.”

How the victims were identified: A DNA analysis of remains

For context: With these two new identifications, 1,647 of the 2,753 victims have been identified. 

From Dr. Barbara A. Sampson, Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York: "Twenty years ago, we made a promise to the families of World Trade Center victims to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to identify their loved ones, and with these two new identifications, we continue to fulfill that sacred obligation.”


Jilly, I’m hooooome:




A heads up to anyone in the northeast:


More storms for New Jersey



Details of the forecast

What to expect in the Washington, D.C. area: “More humid today with late-day scattered storms; nice weather tomorrow into weekend” (Via The Capital Weather Gang)


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

9:05 a.m. EDT: Vice President Harris left Washington, D.C., en route to Oakland, Calif. 

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

2:45 p.m. EDT: President Biden receives a briefing from members of the White House COVID Response Team.

3:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris campaigns for California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia at risk of losing out on hundreds of millions in federal rental assistance, auditor warns Schwarzenegger says Californians 'made the right decision' not to recall Newsom California dreaming did not become reality for Republicans MORE (D) at the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in San Leandro, Calif. 

5:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris returns to Washington, D.C.


9:45 a.m. EDT: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE (D-Calif.) held a press briefing. Livestream 

11:20 a.m. EDT: President Biden delivered remarks on labor unions. Labor Secretary Marty WalshMarty WalshBoston set to elect first female mayor Democrat Michelle Wu advances in Boston mayoral election Biden steps into legal fight with vaccine mandates MORE attended. Livestream

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE and National Economic Council director Brian DeeseBrian DeeseOn The Money — Yellen sounds alarm on national default Biden officials raise concerns about rising meat prices The Hill's 12:30 Report - Supreme Court resumes in-person oral arguments MORE hold a press briefing. Livestream


Today is National Date-Nut Bread Day.

And because you read this far, here’s a cat watching its icon: 


Kitty reacts to lions on TV