The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Simone Biles, gymnastics stars slam FBI during Nassar testimony


Presented by Facebook 


Gymnasts testify at Senate hearing

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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 testimony is excruciating to watch:

Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, and NCAA gymnast Maggie Nichols are on Capitol Hill today, giving heartbreaking testimony on gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse and the failures of the FBI’s investigation of the case. 

Watch the hearing: Here’s the livestream: 


U.S. gymnasts arrive for Nassar hearing


Photo of the gymnasts going through security to enter the building: Via NBC’s Julie Tsirkin:


If you watch one clip from today’s hearing: McKayla Maroney’s opening testimony is incredibly poignant. 


U.S. gymnast Makayla Maroney


Simone Biles struggled to hold back tears: "To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse."

I can’t imagine: Biles told the committee, "To be perfectly honest, I can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you sharing these comments." Watch Biles’s full opening statement 

McKayla Maroney on the FBI: "Not only did the FBI not report my abuse … 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said." 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin: Negotiators to miss Friday target for deal on reconciliation bill Democrats look for plan B on filibuster The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats MORE’s (D-Ill.) reaction to the testimony: “I’ve been in a lot of committee hearings. I can’t remember compelling testimony like we just heard this morning and ever before because you had the courage to come up and tell the world what happened to you. It is heartbreaking to think [about] what you have been through.”

From Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): "This investigation was mishandled...and it has to leave us wondering whether the FBI is capable of these kinds of sexual abuse investigations.” (Via The New Republic’s Grace Segers

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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Internet regulations are as outdated as dial-up



Facebook supports updated regulations, including four areas where lawmakers can make quick progress:

– Reforming Section 230
– Preventing foreign interference of our elections
– Passing federal privacy law
– Setting rules that allow people to safely transfer data between services



Oh, to be a fly on that wall:



Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE is meeting with Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden: Negotiating assault weapons ban more difficult than infrastructure, reconciliation deal Biden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Biden says paid leave proposal reduced from 12 to 4 weeks MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBiden: Negotiating assault weapons ban more difficult than infrastructure, reconciliation deal Biden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Biden says paid leave proposal reduced from 12 to 4 weeks MORE (D-Ariz.) separately today to discuss their concerns over the price tag of the $3.5 trillion Democratic spending package.

When the meetings are happening: Sinema met with Biden this morning. Manchin will meet with Biden later today. 

Photo of Sinema arriving at 1600 Penn.


Sen. Kyrsten Sinema


LOL: This response to Raju’s tweet is incredibly spot-on:

^ It’s a clip from The Notebook for those who haven’t seen it. 

And here’s a photo of Sinema leaving the White House an hour later


Behind-the-scenes info — how lawmakers helped facilitate the Afghanistan evacuation effort:

The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch and Laura Kelly have some very good reporting on the extraordinary measures lawmakers and their staff went through to help Americans and Afghan allies evacuate from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover. 

“The mission was personal for many of them: Some are veterans, or relatives of veterans, of the 20-year war, and some had even worked with local interpreters whom they considered key to their survival.” 

“Lawmakers and staffers also said they felt obligated to answer requests from constituents as well as those beyond their districts looking for help. Many offices found success in helping people evacuate, but those victories are dampened by the sheer numbers of people left behind.”

The full story — it’s worth your time


Me, again!:



California voted to keep its governor, Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes Biden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises MORE (D) after the historic rebuke to recall him from his post.  

The gist of the vote: “With 59 percent of the vote tallied in an election conducted almost entirely through the mail, just 33 percent of voters supported recalling Newsom; the Associated Press projected the recall would fail.”  

Why the recall happened: “Supporters of the recall gathered more than 2.1 million signatures to force an election, after a state judge granted them an extension because of the coronavirus pandemic.” 

Why so many people signed on to recall Newsom: Many Californians were angered by Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and lockdowns.

Breakdown of the race from The Hill’s Reid Wilson


Four more takeaways — and context for each


Via The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin, “Newsom’s anti-Trump recall strategy offers Republicans a warning for 2022: California Democrats were able to nationalize the vote — thanks to an avalanche of money, party discipline and, above all, an easily demonized opponent.”


This is a heavy day — ‘1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID-19’:

Via The Washington Post’s Dan Keating and Akilah Johnson, “At a certain point, it was no longer a matter of if the United States would reach the gruesome milestone of 1 in 500 people dying of covid-19, but a matter of when. A year? Maybe 15 months? The answer: 19 months.” The full story


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 41,371,382 

U.S. death toll: 664,019 

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 381 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 779,698 doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers:



Why Facebook supports reforming Section 230



The internet has changed a lot in the last 25 years — the last time comprehensive internet regulations were passed.

Facebook supports updated regulations — like reforming Section 230, to set standards for the way larger tech companies enforce rules about content.



Avoid the Capitol if you can on Saturday:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis, “As Capitol security officials gird for Saturday's pro-Trump rally in Washington, lawmakers and their aides have been given a simple directive: steer clear of the building.” 

^ And for anyone who has to be at the Capitol on Saturday: “House lawmakers and their employees should park in underground garages and move between buildings by way of underground tunnels, rather than walking outside, [House Sergeant at Arms William Walker] advised.”


The organizers of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” demonstration have asked attendees not to wear.

Why: “This event is 100% about #JusticeforJ6  and not the election or any candidate,” organizer Matt Braynard tweeted.

Yep, sounds like a threat — Braynard also tweeted: “Anyone not honoring this request will be assumed to be an infiltrator and we will take your picture, find out who you are, and make you famous.”


This conversation, brought to you by Apple!:


Sen. Joe Manchin



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

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

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Biden hosts a meeting with business leaders to discuss COVID-19.


12:45 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues GOP memo urges lawmakers to blame White House 'grinches' for Christmas delays Regional powers rally behind Taliban's request for humanitarian aid MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream 

3:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenFinancial oversight panel unveils climate risk plan On The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms Supply snarls, hiring issues hindered economy in September: Fed report MORE deliver remarks on proposed investments in childcare.  

5 p.m. EDT: President Biden delivers remarks on his national security initiative. Livestream


Today is National Double Cheeseburger Day.

Broadway’s big shows are back, baby!:

“Some of the biggest shows in musical theater, including ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Wicked’ and ‘Hamilton,’ resumed performances on Tuesday night, 18 months after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close.”

“They were not the first shows to restart, nor the only ones, but they are enormous theatrical powerhouses that have come to symbolize the industry’s strength and reach, and their return to the stage is a signal that theater is back.”  

Tidbit outside the ‘Hamilton’ theater: Lin-Manuel Miranda sang, “New York, New York.” Watch

And because you made it this far, here is the most standard footage of picture day:


Puppy photos