The Hill's 12:30 Report: 2021 ends with 40-year inflation high

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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

This is a record I wish we just let 1982 keep … :

 

 

Via The Wall Street Journal’s Gwynn Guilford, “U.S. inflation closed out 2021 at its highest level since 1982 as robust consumer demand exacerbated pandemic-related supply shortages.” https://on.wsj.com/33pPpc4 

The numbers: Consumer prices rose 7 percent in the past year.  

If you exclude food and energy prices: Consumer prices rose 5.5 percent.  

What this means for the economy: https://on.wsj.com/33pPpc4

SO, I’M NOT JUST GIVING YOU THE DOOM AND GLOOM:

The Washington Post’s Heather Long pointed out, “Alcohol is only up 2.3%, Ice cream is up just 1.6%. And hot dogs are actually down -0.6%” https://bit.ly/33w1e0x  

So, there you go!  

^ But Long also broke down inflation by key products, such as gas, furniture, cars and bacon. Here’s the breakdown by item: https://bit.ly/3qlk43q

 

Hot dogs for sale

 

Another round of, well, me, on the house!:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) announced this morning that he will run for another term as the Senate’s Republican leader. https://bit.ly/33dl3d8 

Why this was in question: “McConnell has come under withering criticism from former President Trump over the past year after blaming Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. McConnell has also been the target of Trump’s wrath after voting for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a proposal to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by themselves with a simple majority vote.” 

More on what this means, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: https://bit.ly/33dl3d8

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 cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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IN CONGRESS

If you wanna know the vibe, just look at how many Dems are calling it quits:

 

 

Rep. Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterCO lawmakers ask DOJ to investigate police's knowledge about alleged shooter The Hill's 12:30 Report: 2021 ends with 40-year inflation high On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood MORE (D-Colo.) became the 26th House Democrat to announce he will not run for reelection in 2022, a troubling sign for the majority party who is facing a tough midterm cycle in the fall. https://bit.ly/3K23wFj 

Because saying ‘26 retirements’ doesn’t tell the full story: 18 of those lawmakers are quitting politics entirely. Eight are running for another office.  

Some context: “Already, more Democrats have called it quits this year than in any cycle since 1996, when 29 members newly in the minority decided not to run again. The same number of Democrats, 29, retired in 1994, the year Republicans reclaimed control of Congress for the first time in four decades.”   

More on what these retirements mean for Democrats, via The Hill’s Reid Wilson: https://bit.ly/3K23wFj

A sticky situation:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democrats are warning that they could box themselves out of winning Senate races in key states unless they change the legislative filibuster and pass voting rights and election reform legislation.” https://bit.ly/3fhI01m

How it could play out: “The fear boils down to a belief among Senate Democrats that unless they take federal action, changes being made by GOP-controlled state legislatures will make it harder for certain constituency groups to vote, which would make it harder for Democrats to win elections. That, in turn, would make it harder for Democrats to keep or win back control of the Senate in the future.”   

The full story: https://bit.ly/3fhI01m

HAPPENING TOMORROW:

NBC’s Sahil Kapur reported, “President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE is expected to attend lunch with Senate Democrats tomorrow to talk voting rights and potential Senate rules changes to pass the bills, per senior Democratic aide.” https://bit.ly/3zRzDCO

TIDBIT — THE LOOK ON THIS BABY’S FACE SAYS EVERYTHING:

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down There's no such thing as 'absolute immunity' for former presidents The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden strategizes with Senate Dems MORE (D-Calif.) posted a photo of his baby, who spit up on his dress shirt. “Not cool,” Swalwell posted. The photo is adorable: https://bit.ly/3GhClnE

LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

I don’t think this is even an exaggeration:

 

 

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said in a recent interview that “just about everybody” will get the omicron variant of COVID-19. https://bit.ly/335u7AU 

In Fauci’s words: “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will, ultimately, find just about everybody.  Those who have been vaccinated and vaccinated and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.”  

More from Fauci’s “fireside chat” with the Center for Strategic and International Studies: https://bit.ly/3rf7fGW

‘IN QUEBEC, PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO BE VACCINATED FOR COVID WILL FACE A FINANCIAL PENALTY’:

Via The Associated Press: https://n.pr/3K8tmYb

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 62,338,037 

U.S. death toll: 842,461 

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

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 521 million shots have been given.  

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.19 million doses  

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

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

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Those lil’ nudges are getting harder:

Via The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Aris Folley, “Advocates and lawmakers are stepping up the pressure on President Biden to act on student loan forgiveness, focusing on it as a major issue some warn Democrats could pay for at the ballot box in the upcoming midterm elections.” https://bit.ly/3zYInXZ 

Is this a sign?: “The extension once again of the student loan repayment pause amid record spikes in COVID-19 cases made advocates optimistic that more action will come out of the White House.”   

How the student loan debate could play out: https://bit.ly/3zYInXZ 

IN WASHINGTON, DC

We have a special bird visitor:

 

Snowy owl on Washington monuments

 

Via The Associated Press, a snowy owl has been seen flying around Washington, D.C. https://bit.ly/3Gmt2mB  

“Far from its summer breeding grounds in Canada, the snowy owl was first seen on Jan. 3, the day a winter storm dumped eight inches of snow on the city. Since then, it’s been spotted in the evenings flying around Washington's Capitol Hill neighborhood, landing on Union Station, the National Postal Museum, various Senate buildings, and Capitol Police headquarters.”

OUTSIDE UNION STATION:

The Huffington Post’s Igor Bobic posted a photo of bird watchers gathering outside of Union Station to watch the snowy owl. Photo: https://bit.ly/3qgLyHf

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Ooh, look! No tie:

 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's portrait revealed

 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) official portrait was unveiled yesterday. Photo of the portrait: https://bit.ly/3niusqs  

The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out: “First Virginia governor not to wear a necktie in his official portrait. That's the outfit choice he'll be remembered for.” https://bit.ly/3rdisIc

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in. President Biden is in Virginia today.  

10:20 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.  

12:45 p.m. EST: President Biden and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Jill Biden adds to communications team in lead-up to midterm elections Harris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' MORE attend the funeral of General Raymond Odierno in Fort Myer, Va.  

1:30 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3r8Pqt3  

3:30 p.m. EST: A confirmation vote in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3rbNhwP

WHAT TO WATCH:

10:30 a.m. EST: Congressional leaders held a tribute to the late Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.). Livestream: https://bit.ly/3raYrSD 

11 a.m. EST: The White House COVID-19 Response Team held a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3njECai 

1 p.m. EST: The Congressional Black Caucus holds a press conference on voting rights. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3nmSOiX 

3 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team Virginia's Youngkin gets the DeSantis treatment from media On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3nj4Mdy

IN LIGHTER NEWS:

Today is National Ginger Day and National Marzipan Day!

Man, NASA really knows how to keep me up at night:

NASA posted yesterday, “The Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Has a Leak.” Photo of an explanation: https://go.nasa.gov/3HPcioi

New year, new flavor:

Via CNN Business’s Jordan Valinsky, for Oreo’s 110th anniversary, the company is selling a new flavor: Chocolate Confetti Cake. Photo and the deets: https://cnn.it/3zObuxb

And because you read this far, here’s a dog playing pranks: https://bit.ly/3tmQb4G  

^ Make sure your sound is on. ;)