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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.
NEWS THIS MORNING
I mean, maybe we should try Kevin McCallister’s battle plan?:
This afternoon, President BidenJoe BidenPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy Vilsack accuses China of breaking commitments in Trump-era trade deal MORE is expected to announce new measures to fight COVID-19 in the winter months as the first case of omicron was detected in the U.S. https://bit.ly/3xOcEaX
When Biden is expected to announce the new measures: At 1:40 p.m. EST. Watch it live: https://bit.ly/3DglQGi
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING BIDEN’S ANNOUNCEMENT:
Increased testing requirements for international travelers: International air travelers, regardless of vaccination or nationality, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of the flight. How that’s different: It shortens the time from 72 hours.
Opening family vaccination clinics: The administration will open family vaccination clinics and start a public campaign to encourage all seniors to get their booster.
Insurance reimbursements for at-home COVID-19 tests: Biden will announce that Americans with private insurance will be reimbursed for at-home COVID-19 tests. Keep in mind: This is not expected to be retroactive(!) More on that policy: https://bit.ly/31ieuVj
Keep those masks on when you fly, take the train, etc.: “The Biden administration will extend the requirement that passengers on domestic flights, trains and public transportation wear face masks through mid-March amid concerns about the new omicron coronavirus variant.” https://bit.ly/3IeTBeI
What else to expect during Biden’s announcement: From The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Nathaniel Weixel: https://bit.ly/3xOcEaX
‘OMICRON COULD KNOCK A FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY OFF TRACK’:
Via The New York Times’s Patricia Cohen in London, U.K.: https://nyti.ms/31rpK1P
It’s Thursday. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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Via The Hill’s Aris Folley, “Top congressional leaders said on early Thursday that they have reached an agreement on a spending deal to fund the government through mid-February as lawmakers work to stave off a shutdown on Friday.” https://bit.ly/3EkXTyJ
Does the short-term funding bill change anything?: Nope, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Republicans must join us to give Capitol Police funding certainty Democrats return with lengthy to-do list MORE (D-Conn.) said the bill “includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy.”
The top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee confirmed a deal: Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence Alabama GOP gears up for fierce Senate primary clash MORE (R-Ala.) said a deal had been reached and emphasized the need to negotiate a longer funding bill in 2022.
^ A SHUTDOWN HADN’T SEEMED LIKE A SERIOUS POSSIBILITY. WHAT CHANGED?:
Yesterday, a group of conservative lawmakers threatened to hold up the short-term funding bill unless there was a vote to defund President Biden’s vaccine mandate. https://bit.ly/3EdE6kK
But House and Senate leaders reached a deal this morning, so hopefully, that holds.
PELOSI WEIGHS IN:
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Manchin: Biden spending plan talks would start 'from scratch' Reps. Massie, Grijalva test positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters: “I don’t think Republicans in the Senate want to shut down [the] government. I don’t even think they have the votes to do so.” (Via Punchbowl’s John Bresnahan) https://bit.ly/3G7WFr5
Livestream of Pelosi’s morning remarks: https://bit.ly/3rvROf9
TIDBIT — WHAT IT MUST BE LIKE TO BE MCCARTHY’S SHOES THESE DAYS:
“It’s a tough position. This isn’t about herding cats. Everybody is a Type-A personality to get here, so it’s like herding ravenous lions,” said Rep. Barry LoudermilkBarry LoudermilkThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron McCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP Georgia Republicans advance map that aims to pick up House seat in redistricting MORE (R-Ga.), explaining McCarthy’s position. More on the headaches the far-right is giving McCarthy, via The Hill’s Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos: https://bit.ly/3xOvXAI
IN THE SUPREME COURT
This would be HUGE:
Via The New York Times’s Adam Liptak, “The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, in what would be a momentous and polarizing decision to roll back the abortion rights the court has defined over the last half century.” https://nyti.ms/3GbzQCL
Why it seems possible for the court to essentially dismantle Roe v. Wade: During the oral arguments, the six conservative justices seemed comfortable upholding Mississippi’s abortion ban. Several justices even seemed “appeared ready to go further and overrule Roe entirely, letting states decide whether and when to ban abortions.”
When will we know the court’s decision: Not until June or July
What we know: https://nyti.ms/3GbzQCL
TIDBIT — REPUBLICAN SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (MAINE) SEEMS OPEN TO CODIFYING ABORTION PROTECTIONS INTO LAW:
Collins’s spokeswoman Annie Clark told NBC’s Sahil Kapur: "Senator Collins supports the right to an abortion and believes that the protections in the Roe and Casey decisions should be passed into law. She has had some conversations with her colleagues about this and is open to further discussions.” https://nbcnews.to/3I8j4Xf
Eh, but keep in mind: “Even if the Senate finds a majority of votes to codify abortion rights, such a bill would be subject to the 60-vote rule. There aren't 50 Senate votes to weaken the filibuster, nor are there 60 votes to enshrine abortion protections into law.”
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
Scientists are closer to figuring out what causes blood clots in the AstraZeneca vaccine:
Via The Washington Post’s Ellen Francis, “Scientists say they have identified clues to what triggered blood clots in rare cases of people who took AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.” https://wapo.st/3poeAD8
The technical details of what scientists have discovered: “In a new study published Wednesday in the Science Advances journal, researchers … say they have found that a protein in the blood, ‘platelet factor 4,’ can bind to a key element of the AstraZeneca vaccine, potentially triggering a reaction with antibodies attacking the protein. However, questions remain over whether the binding is a direct cause of the blood clots.”
The full story and what this means for the vaccine: https://wapo.st/3poeAD8
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 48,696,690
U.S. death toll: 782,109
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 462 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 979,814 doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
Bill Nye, the Tik Tok guy:
The House and Senate are in. President Biden is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Harris is in North Carolina.
The House’s full agenda today: Lots of “???” in the vote timing: https://bit.ly/3Db7qXO
9:20 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris left for North Carolina.
10 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.
11:20 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Airlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports MORE toured a public transit facility in Charlotte, N.C.
1:15 p.m. EST: President Biden visits the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md.
2:50 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris returns to Washington, D.C.
WHAT TO WATCH:
11 a.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiZelensky says 'there are no minor incursions' after Biden's comments on Ukraine, Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Dems regroup as Biden agenda stumbles Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' MORE held a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/31qkGuA
11:55 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivered remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure law. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3det6aU
1:40 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks on the omicron variant and the administration’s response. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3DglQGi
5:30 p.m. EST: The first family and the second family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting. President Biden and Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden officials announce clean energy plans Biden administration announces actions bolstering clean energy MORE speak. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3ofJePE
IN LIGHTER NEWS:
Today is National Fritters Day.
Via Popville, “More on the 130,000-pound clear ice maze coming to CityCenterDC.” Details: https://bit.ly/32NxIml
And to brighten your Thursday afternoon, here’s a golden retriever who might as well be a mermaid: https://bit.ly/3ltBPL2