The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup
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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-95 is an absolute mess right now:

Via WTOP News, “A horrendous traffic jam that began during Monday morning’s record-breaking winter storm has grown steadily worse with plummeting overnight temperatures causing melting snow to refreeze.” https://bit.ly/3JCECvM 

“Hundreds of vehicles have been at a standstill for over 16 hours, shutting off their engines in frigid weather to conserve dwindling fuel, many with little to no food or water.” 

What we know: https://bit.ly/3JCECvM 

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size MORE (D-Va.) is one of the drivers stuck in the mess

 

Sen. Kaine stuck on I-95 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3mULKdn 

A family has been handing out oranges to drivers: Sen. Kaine tweeted, “A CT family returning in a packed car from Florida walked by in the middle of the night handing out oranges as we were stopped for hours on I-95. Bless them!” Photo: https://bit.ly/330vYpW 

The roads look terriblehttps://bit.ly/3JI5WsE 

CBS 4 Miami’s Jim DeFede has been in his car for more than 24 hours (!): He said he has been in the same spot in Virginia for more than 17 hours. Video updatehttps://bit.ly/3qQ1rTZ 

Oh my gosh

 

An aerial view of the I-95 backup

Watchhttps://bit.ly/3qU8paW 

ABC 7 DC’s Kristen Powers tweeted: “Here is a man who tells me he’s been stuck for roughly 10 hours and has not moved from his spot on I-95 in 7 hours. He doesn’t see any crews around him working to clear area. This is a real emergency with people.” Photo: https://bit.ly/3JGpvRR

HOW IS THIS BEING RESOLVED??:

“Gov. Ralph Northam said his team responded through the night, sending out emergency messages to connect stranded drivers with help, and working with local officials to set up warming shelters as needed. He said the National Guard was ‘available’ but he hadn’t yet called upon members to help. He also couldn’t say when the situation would be resolved.” More from The Associated Press: https://bit.ly/3qGaO8U

It’s Tuesday. Shoutout to anyone who has successfully written 2022 so far without first writing 2021 — because that is not me. 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 cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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BREAKING

Andrew Cuomo’s charges have been dropped:

Via The Washington Post’s John Wagner, “The district attorney in Albany County, N.Y., confirmed Tuesday that he will not pursue a misdemeanor sex crime charge against former New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo, saying in a statement that he cannot prove the case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ ” https://wapo.st/3eRKwuI 

From the Albany County District Attorney David Soares: “While we found the complainant in this case cooperative and credible, after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial. As such we have notified the Court that we are declining to prosecute this matter and requesting the charges filed by the Albany County Sheriff be dismissed.”

IN THE DMV

My social media timelines are still flooded with snow content from yesterday:

The D.C. region effectively shut down yesterday after a snowstorm dumped about 8 inches.

MORE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE STORM:

Yikes, check out the traffic around Washington, D.C., yesterday: Photo: https://bit.ly/3qNn9rV 

Wow, the Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol look stunning: https://bit.ly/3sXhRNi 

Tidbit — Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Former US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican MORE (D-Vt.) has jokes: As Leahy entered the Senate yesterday, he said, “Apparently they don’t have snowplows. We can lend them some from Vermont.” (Via CNN’s Manu Raju) https://bit.ly/3sX5hgL

But that’s not all, folks!:

I don’t know how to tell you this, but another storm may hit the Washington, D.C.-area Thursday and Friday of this week. The forecast from Capital Weather Gang: https://bit.ly/3mRGBlZ

IN CONGRESS

Put the bill back in the hat and maybe it’ll come out as a rabbit next time?:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Senate Democrats are putting President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MOREs climate and social spending plan on the back burner as they plan to debate voting rights legislation this month and hold a vote on changing the Senate's filibuster rule.” https://bit.ly/3pR5NuS 

What happens to BBB?: “Democratic aides say the Build Back Better bill won't be ready for floor action any time soon and predict the wide-ranging legislation that the White House has negotiated with centrist Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet with CEOs to discuss Build Back Better agenda Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year Gallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaGallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration The Armageddon elections to come MORE (D-Ariz.) may have to be completely overhauled.” 

Timing: “Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) informed colleagues Monday the Senate will turn immediately to voting rights legislation and would vote to reform the chamber’s filibuster rule by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 17, if Senate Republicans block it.”

HOW DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO USE THE JAN. 6 ANNIVERSARY TO RAMP UP THE FILIBUSTER FIGHT:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney: https://bit.ly/3JESWUw

‘TWITTER BAN ON MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE REIGNITES POLITICAL BATTLES’:

Read Niall Stanage’s column: https://bit.ly/3333Lz2

LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

There were 1 *million* new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. yesterday. Nope, no typo there.:

Via Bloomberg’s Jinshan Hong, “The U.S. added more than 1 million people to its Covid-19 case count on Monday as the true scope of a surge in infections over the holidays began to round into view. The highly mutated variant, combined with delayed reporting by local governments over the holidays, led to a single-day record for new cases for any country in the world.” https://bloom.bg/3sXceP5 

For context: “Monday’s number is almost double the previous record of about 590,000 set just four days ago in the U.S., which itself was a doubling from the prior week.” 

More context: “It is also more than twice the case count seen anywhere else at any time since the pandemic began more than two years ago. The highest number outside the U.S. came during India’s delta surge, when more than 414,000 people were diagnosed on May 7, 2021.” 

Keep in mind: Many people are taking rapid tests at home, so this figure does not account for those positive cases. 

The full story: https://bloom.bg/3sXceP5 

Speaking of those at-home rapid tests … :

 

COVID-19 testing lines in D.C. 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3qQ8v34

‘OMICRON SURGE POSES POLITICAL PERIL FOR DEMOCRATS’:

Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester: https://bit.ly/3EV09MP

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 56,238,210 

U.S. death toll: 827,834 

Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 508 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.4 million doses 

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

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Happy New Year to you! And you! And you!:

 

Happy New Year from Oregon Zoo 

Watch: https://bit.ly/3EXkC3k

ON TAP:

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

10:10 a.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.

WHAT TO WATCH:

2 p.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris meet with the White House COVID-19 Response Team to discuss the omicron variant. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3mUIbnt 

2:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul Qatar emir to meet with Biden at White House next week White House underscores action amid violent crime streak MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3qKno77

2:20 p.m. EST: U.S. Capitol Police hold a press conference on security improvements since the Jan. 6 riots. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3HwvSp6

IN LIGHTER NEWS:

Today is National Spaghetti Day!

And because you made it this far, here’s a cat with an odd hangout spot: https://bit.ly/3pSoZbJ