The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Milley defends his Trump rationale post-Jan. 6


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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.



A’ight, so hear me out:

While testifying on Capitol Hill this morning, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended his conversations with his Chinese counterparts in the final stretch of the Trump administration. 

Milley said in his opening remarks: “I am certain, President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE did not intend on attacking the Chinese and it is my directed responsibility – and it was my directed responsibility by the secretary — to convey presidential orders and intent … My job at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: calm, steady, and deescalate. We are not going to attack you.”

Live blog of the hearing 

Hearing livestream


Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress is hell-bent on a spooky spending spree  Pelosi on addressing climate through reconciliation package: 'This is our moment' House progressives lay out priorities for spending negotiations MORE called Milley after Jan. 6 on Trump’s ability to launch nuclear weapons: “I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process. She was concerned and made various personal references characterizing the president.” 

^ He continued: “I explained to [Pelosi] that the president is the sole nuclear launch authority and he doesn’t launch them alone and that I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the president of the United States. There are processes, protocols, and procedures in place and I repeatedly assured her there is no chance of an illegal, unauthorized, or accidental launch.”

On Afghanistan and its quick fall to the Taliban, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, testified: "I think had the Afghan military fought, we would have probably seen the Kabul bowl, the approaches to Kabul, get into the winter still under the control of the government of Afghanistan … But I would just note that it wasn't so much the collapse of the Afghan military as a collapse of the Afghan government writ large.”


Via Politico’s Connor O’Brien

It’s Tuesday. 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 working: In just the past few months, we took down 1.7 billion fake accounts & 7.1 million terrorism-related posts. 

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Biden is trying to make DACA permanent:

Via Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch and Rafael Bernal, “The Biden administration on Tuesday moved to make permanent protections for those brought to the U.S. undocumented as children, an effort to combat legal challenges to a program first started under President Obama.”

How it would work: “A proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security would solidify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was suspended under President Trump and enjoined by a Texas court in July of this year, leaving an estimated million people in immigration limbo.”  

What happens now: “The new rule, to be published in The Federal Register, would go into effect after the administration considers public input during a 60-day comment period.” (Via The New York Times’s Miriam Jordan and Eileen Sullivan


How much time do we have left?:

Three weeks, according to Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push 12 top U.S. officials to join Biden at major climate conference As domestic challenges pile up, Biden is quietly winning on the international stage MORE

From Yellen: “We now estimate that Treasury is likely to exhaust its extraordinary measures if Congress has not acted to raise or suspend the debt limit by October 18. At that point, we expect Treasury would be left with very limited resources that would be depleted quickly.”

We are playing a rousing game of limbo:

Democrats have tied government funding and disaster relief to the debt ceiling in an attempt to pressure Republicans into helping to raise the soon-to-expire nation’s debt limit. Republicans are not budging, and the deadline is getting increasingly close. 

Biden is looking into a Plan B: Via Politico’s Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle, “President Joe Biden discussed the possibility of raising the debt ceiling via budget reconciliation on Monday evening on a telephone call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader [Charles] Schumer, the latest sign that Democrats are searching for a way around entrenched GOP opposition.”


Take a sip of your drink every time you read ‘Joe Manchin’ or ‘Kyrsten Sinema’ in the news this week:

Via The Associated Press’s Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller, Centrist Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push Pelosi on addressing climate through reconciliation package: 'This is our moment' MORE (Ariz.), two key holdups in moving President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE’s domestic agenda, are meeting with Biden at the White House today. 

Why they’re not on board: The $3.5 trillion price tag.  

11:11, make a wish!


Sen. Sinema arrives at the White House


Keeping everyone on their toes!:



Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has emerged this fall as the biggest mystery in the Senate Democratic caucus as colleagues scramble to figure out what it will take to get her to vote for a budget reconciliation to enact President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.”

Her latest curveball: “An interview where she talked about the urgent need to address climate change. Her comments have helped create new political momentum behind a carbon tax even though the idea didn’t seem to be going anywhere just a few weeks ago.” 

^ Oh and by the way: “Sinema is not pushing for or proposing a carbon tax, according to a Democratic aide familiar with her thinking, but Sinema’s comments to The Arizona Republic last week are being interpreted by some Democratic senators as an endorsement of the idea.” 

How this could play out

Pelosi’s Superbowl. Her World Series. Her Olympics. Her Supermarket Sweep, even:

^ Now all I can picture is Pelosi with a shopping cart sprinting around the Capitol to get everyone on board.

Via The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, “In what could be the last legacy-making legislative act of a historic political career, all eyes are on [Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] to see if she can deliver for her party once again, this time on a $3.5 trillion social spending and climate package — the top domestic priority of President Biden — which would transform the role of government in ways that would reverberate for generations.”

It’s not her first rodeo: “More than a decade ago, in her first stint as Speaker, [Pelosi] overcame enormous odds to shepherd the landmark ObamaCare bill through the House, securing health care for millions of uninsured Americans and cementing the most consequential domestic policy of the Obama era.” 

How it’s all coming to a head this week 


Ocasio-Cortez says she is against separating infrastructure from reconciliation bill




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We’ve invested $13 billion in teams and technology over the last 5 years to enhance safety. 

It's working: In just the past few months, we took down 1.7 billion fake accounts to stop bad actors from doing harm.

But there's more to do. Learn more about how we're working to help you connect safely.



Well, *pauses to look around,* that worked!:

Via The New York Times’s Sharon Otterman and Joseph Goldstein, “Thousands of health care workers in New York got inoculated against Covid-19 ahead of Monday’s deadline, helping the state avoid a worst-case scenario of staffing shortages at hospitals and nursing homes.”

Wow, this stat is pretty crazy: “The [vaccination] rate for nursing homes … jumped to 92 percent on Monday, from 84 percent five days earlier.” (!)

The numbers: “In the New York City public hospital system, more than 8,000 workers were unvaccinated a week ago. But by Monday morning that number had dropped to 5,000 — just over 10 percent of the work force.”  

What happens to employees who choose not to get vaccinated: They are “in danger of being suspended or fired.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 43,134,601 

U.S. death toll: 690,918

Breakdown of the numbers


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 390 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 716,762 doses

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

Breakdown of the numbers:


Simone Biles says she should have quit before Tokyo:

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles spoke with New York Magazine’s Camonghne Felix about her life, her career and the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Excerpt: “ ‘If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team,’ Biles says, her eyes filling with tears. ‘I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much. But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old. I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.’ ”  

I love this: “Today, the 24-year-old gymnast is radiant and relaxed, her face lightly dressed with makeup. She’s wearing a crisp white T-shirt that looks like it was pulled straight off a Uniqlo shelf. She suggests mimosas. It’s 10 a.m., but why not? The ease of postseason Simone Biles is an art.” 

The full story from New York Magazine 

Check out the cover of this issue — Simone is an icon


How cute!:


Tuna sandwich


Omg, I can’t agree more:


Vending machine at the Capitol


^ Sorry for the accidental lunch-themed tweet section today. lol.


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

10:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.

11:30 a.m. EDT: A confirmation vote in the Senate. 

2:30 – 4 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today 

3:15 p.m. EDT: Another confirmation vote in the Senate. Today’s full schedule with other confirmation votes


12:30 p.m. EDT: The White House COVID-19 Response Team holds a press briefing. Livestream 

1:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion DeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates Biden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream

7 p.m. EDT: The final Virginia gubernatorial debate. Livestream


Today is National Drink Beer Day!

And to make you smile, here’s a dog waiting at the grocery store exit to wave goodbye to everyone: