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The Hill's Morning Report - Biden leans heavily into gun control

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Today is Wednesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!



Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 542,359; Tuesday, 542,949; Wednesday, 543,843.



Eight shooting victims near Atlanta. Ten in Boulder, Colo. 

 

In less than a week.

 

The suspected shooters are male and both 21. Their respective motives remain murky. They purchased weapons within days of the deadly shootings.

 

The affected Georgia and Colorado communities reacted in horror, but not in disbelief. The responses on Capitol Hill were swift and practiced. 

 

President Biden urged Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to close background check loopholes (The Hill). 

 

The Associated Press: “We have to act,” the president declared at the White House.

 

Asked later if he has sufficient political capital to enact gun measures, Biden crossed his fingers and told reporters, “I hope so. I don’t know. I haven’t done any counting yet."

 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Hillicon Valley: Colonial pipeline is back online, but concerns remain | Uber, Lyft struggle with driver supply | Apple cuts controversial hire Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' MORE (D-Calif.) pointed to a pair of House-passed gun control bills now awaiting attention by the Senate. Biden echoed the Speaker and called on the Senate to “immediately pass” the measures that would expand background checks for firearm sales, noting that both attracted some Republican support in the House. One of the bills would close the so-called Charleston loophole by extending the initial background check review period from three to 10 days. The bill is linked to the 2015 shooting in Charleston, S.C., in which a white supremacist killed nine Black Americans at the Mother Emanuel AME Church.

 

Pelosi argued that enhanced background checks have clear public support. “While we await further information on the details of this heinous crime, we continue to stand with victims, families and young people across the country saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” she said.

 

Eighty-four percent of voters, including 77 percent of Republicans support requiring all gun purchasers to go through a background check, a Morning Consult/Politico survey found this month. However, only eight House Republicans voted for background checks earlier this month (The Hill). 

 

Biden has spent decades pushing gun control proposals during a period that saw the rise of Second Amendment advocacy, the influence of the National Rifle Association, sales of weapons of war and debates about how to help individuals with fraying mental health. Biden was tasked as vice president to pull together a legislative package of gun control measures after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that killed 26 people, including 20 children, in Connecticut. The legislative effort fell six votes short in the Senate (The New York Times).

 

NBC News: Senate renews efforts to overhaul U.S. gun laws.

 

The New York Times: A checkerboard of gun laws aligned with the partisan tilt of 50 states.

 

Why did the assault weapons ban of 1994 expire? (WAMU).

 

The New York Times: A bleak, long and incomplete list of mass shootings in the United States.

 

 

A customer handles an AR-15

 

 

Rep. Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseOvernight Health Care: US to share millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries | Biden speaks with Prime Minister Modi as COVID-19 surges in India House Democrats call on Biden to add Medicare-related provisions to economic plan A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US MORE (D-Colo.), whose district includes Boulder, said on “CBS This Morning” that “the time for inaction is over. It does not have to be this way. There are common sense gun legislation reform proposals that have been debated in Congress for far too long.”

 

The congressman said opposition from the gun lobby, “and so many others” who block gun reforms, can be overcome. “I think the American people are tired of excuses,” he said (The Associated Press). 

 

Colorado shooting suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who was arrested on Monday and treated for a leg wound, was booked on murder charges on Tuesday. Officials said he purchased an AR-15-style assault rifle less than a week before he allegedly shot and killed 10 people, including a police officer, at a Boulder grocery store. The victims ranged in age from 20 to 65. It was the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since a 2019 assault on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman killed 22 people in a rampage that police said targeted Mexicans (The Associated Press). 

 

Mass shootings since 2020 surged by 47 percent as many states reported unprecedented increases in weapons-related incidents, USA Today reported, citing data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. In 2020, the U.S. reported 611 mass shooting events that resulted in 513 deaths and 2,543 injuries. In 2019, there were 417 mass shootings with 465 deaths and 1,707 injured.

 

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) vowed to address gun violence, but he did not say when and he did not suggest he has a consensus in his conference. "The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country," he said Tuesday. “I’ve already committed to bringing universal background checks legislation to the floor of the Senate” (The Hill). 

 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinJill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip Manchin on infrastructure: 'We're gonna find a bipartisan pathway forward' Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick MORE (D-W.Va.), a centrist whose sway in the 50-50 Senate is now formidable, said he opposes the House-passed background check bill (The Hill). Manchin and Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) previously offered legislation to expand background checks to all commercial sales, including those at gun shows or on the internet. Of the GOP senators who supported the bill in 2013, only two are still in the Senate: Toomey and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMasks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (Maine).  

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick DurbinDick DurbinSweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Biden's internal polling touts public support for immigration reform MORE (D-Ill.) (pictured below with Schumer) urged colleagues to help prevent mass shootings, but the debate Tuesday during a hearing about gun violence underscored that the politics of gun rights and gun control are entrenched. Republicans and Democrats on the committee agreed that prevention was the best way to stop mass killings. They disagreed, however, on how to proceed and how far to go (USA Today).

 

The Hill: New shootings plunge Biden, Congress into gun control debate.

 

The Hill: Eighteen state attorneys general called on Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Watch live: Garland testifies before Senate panel on domestic extremism The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE to close the “ghost gun” loophole.

 

 

Sens. Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer

 



LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: U.S. health officials on Tuesday openly questioned AstraZeneca’s decision to not include a full accounting of data when it rolled out its trial results on Monday, dealing yet another body blow to the pharmaceutical company as it hopes to build support for its COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Watch live: White House holds briefing with COVID-19 response team The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Colonial pays hackers as service is restored MORE, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, expressed surprise at AstraZeneca’s decision. According to the company’s Monday release, its COVID-19 shot had an efficacy of 79 percent and was able to reduce serious illness and hospitalization by 100 percent. However, the data and safety monitoring board indicated that the most recent data shows that the vaccine is likely between 69 and 74 percent effective at preventing symptomatic cases of the virus. 

 

“I was sort of stunned,” Fauci told STAT News. “The data and safety monitoring board were concerned that the data that went into the press release by [AstraZeneca] was not the most accurate and up-to-date data. That is what the [data and safety monitoring board] communicated to [AstraZeneca] in a rather harsh note. Having seen that letter we could not just let it go unanswered.” 

 

Despite defending the information it released on Monday, AstraZeneca said on Tuesday that it will share fuller results within 48 hours to the monitoring board that will include its latest efficacy data. 

 

The news was another misstep in the company’s vaccine rollout as it looks to regain public trust. In recent weeks, the jab has come under increased scrutiny in Europe as roughly a dozen nations suspended its use over potential side effects, though it has largely been reinstated over the past week. 

 

According to The New York Times, the latest issue surrounding the released results will likely bring upon more scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when AstraZeneca likely applies for emergency use authorization of the shot next month. 

 

“In my mind, it’s an unforced error by the company,” Fauci added.

 

Adding to the company’s troubles, its share prices fell 3.5 percent on Tuesday (CNBC). 

 

The Wall Street Journal: Fallout from AstraZeneca data snafu could be bigger than it seems.

 

The Associated Press: Missteps could mar long-term credibility of AstraZeneca shot.

 

The Hill: Progressives up pressure on Biden to back COVID vaccine patent waiver.

 

The Hill: Texas opening vaccines to all adults.

 

 

An AstraZeneca logo

 

 

> COVID remedies: Pfizer on Tuesday revealed that it has started early stage U.S. clinical trials of an investigational, oral antiviral drug for COVID-19, saying that it “has demonstrated potent in vitro antiviral activity” against the virus and activity against other coronaviruses — suggesting the potential for use to address future threats. 

 

While three vaccines have been approved for emergency use, the same cannot be said for therapeutics against COVID-19, which have not been as successful. Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir is the only drug that has been approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19. The FDA has also granted emergency authorization to antibody therapies by Regeneron and Eli Lilly (The Hill).

 

The Wall Street Journal: Pfizer goes it alone to expand vaccine business beyond COVID-19.

 

> Classrooms: The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) on Tuesday questioned the Biden administration’s newly-updated guidance to reduce the recommended social distancing in schools from 6 to 3 feet between students.

 

Randi Weingarten, president of the organization that represents 1.7 million teachers, told Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Overnight Health Care: CDC says vaccinated people can take masks off indoors and outdoors | Missouri abandons voter-approved Medicaid expansion | White House unveils B plan to hire public health workers CDC says vaccinated people can take masks off indoors and outdoors MORE and Education Department Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaOvernight Health Care: CDC says vaccinated people can take masks off indoors and outdoors | Missouri abandons voter-approved Medicaid expansion | White House unveils B plan to hire public health workers Biden administration reversing Trump ban on pandemic aid for undocumented students House Republicans press Biden Education secretary on reopening outreach MORE in a letter that while AFT “trust(s) the CDC ... to provide them with accurate information,” concerns remain about the updated guidance.

 

“We are not convinced that the evidence supports changing physical distancing requirements at this time,” Weingarten wrote. “Our concern is that the cited studies do not identify the baseline mitigation strategies needed to support 3 feet of physical distancing” (CBS News).

 

The new criticism comes as the administration pushes to reopen schools for in-person learning after a year filled with virtual learning, which many students have struggled with, concerning parents in the process.

 

The Associated Press: Learning setbacks a top concern for parents: poll.

 

The Hill: Regal Cinemas reopening next month.

 

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic: The curious case of Florida’s pandemic response. 

 

The Washington Post: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to ease some restrictions as Maryland, Virginia announce new mass vaccination sites.

 

*****

 

ADMINISTRATION: The White House on Tuesday extended until Aug. 15 the previous May deadline to purchase health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act at Healthcare.gov (The New York Times).

 

“We have a duty, not just to protect it, but to make it better and keep becoming a nation where health care is a right for all and not a privilege for a few,” the president said during a trip to Ohio.

 

> Immigration: The Biden administration reacted on Tuesday to pressure to open Customs and Border Protection’s migrant facilities to news media scrutiny by releasing an approved set of government photographs. The administration has barred the news media from touring some facilities where unaccompanied children are detained, while members of Congress from both parties have visited border locations, released some photos and will continue to make such trips to provide what members of the House and Senate are calling “oversight.” The White House says it is developing a plan that would allow some press access, although optics, the number of minors being held and COVID-19 risks are complications (The Hill).

 

Jonathan Allen: Biden's all quiet on the southern border. That might not last.

 

> Paying for what comes next: A potential $3 trillion price tag on Biden's pending infrastructure and climate plan suggests the administration’s favored tax increases and revenue measures would still fall short and result in a need for continued borrowing. The nation's current and future debt burdens are raising alarms, reports The Hill’s Niv Elis.

 

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Judge rejects GOP effort to block tax provision in Biden stimulus bill Growing inflation is Biden's hidden tax on working Americans MORE told lawmakers during House testimony on Tuesday that raising taxes “in a fair way” to help offset spending on infrastructure makes economic sense (The Hill).

 

The White House next will release a budget overview to Congress, with a more complete fiscal blueprint planned for release later in the spring. Discretionary spending priorities, including agency funding levels come next week. The spring budget will include the administration’s full agenda, as well as mandatory spending and tax-related proposals (The Wall Street Journal).

 

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersStudy: Early unemployment cutoff would cost 16M people 0B Machine Gun Kelly reveals how Bernie Sanders aided him in his relationship with Megan Fox Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response MORE (I-Vt.) said during a podcast interview with The New York Times’s Ezra Klein that to win his vote, the next big bill must encompass “obvious” infrastructure investments, but also deal with “low-income housing … the existential threat of climate change … health care for all people as a right … immigration reform… criminal justice reform and systemic racism.”

 

“We’ve got to go big in climate to the degree that we can deal with health care,” he said.

 

Upshot: Getting centrist and progressive Democrats on the same page is going to be an enormous task for Pelosi and Schumer.

 

K Street expectations this year for a possible $3 trillion plan drafted by Democrats, which may be divided into separate bills, sets the stage for a gargantuan lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill, particularly as more lawmakers embrace a return to earmarked spending provisions, reports The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.  

  

> Nominees: Just in time, the Office of Management and Budget will soon see a deputy director with the Senate confirmation of Shalanda Young on Tuesday. The Senate voted 63-37 to confirm the former House Appropriations Committee staff director, who is expected to serve as acting budget director while Biden weighs options for the No. 1 job after former nominee Neera TandenNeera TandenManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills MORE withdrew her name (The Hill).

 

Physician Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyBiden to appear on MSNBC before town hall on vaccines Surgeon general: US 'still not doing enough' to address growing mental health crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal MORE becomes U.S. Surgeon General for a second time with the Senate’s 57-43 vote to confirm him on Tuesday (The Hill).

 

 

Shalanda Young

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: The White House has its political eyes focused intently on the 2022 midterm elections and beyond as top officials fan out to battleground states to tout a recently signed $1.9 trillion stimulus law.

 

As The Hill’s Brett Samuels writes, the president appeared in Ohio on Tuesday to promote the American Rescue Plan, marking the latest trip to a state with a Senate seat with a potentially competitive race next year. Biden and Vice President Harris appeared in Georgia on Friday, with administration officials also making recent stops in Florida, New Hampshire and Iowa

 

“These are by definition places where there are lots of potentially skeptical and hopefully persuadable Americans,” said Lynda Tran, a founding partner at 270 Strategies. “It’s super important that the president, the vice president, the first lady and the second gentleman are out there encouraging people to get vaccinated and just to restore their faith that government can and should work for the people.”

 

The Associated Press: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.): COVID-19 relief bill will boost Dems in 2022 midterms.

 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: Governor races to test COVID-19 response, Trump influence.

 

Politico: Trump doesn’t want back on Twitter, even if he were invited.

 

The Hill: Biden sees himself as a two-term president.

 

*****

 

MORE CONGRESS: Sens. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthBipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief Duckworth says food stamps let her stay in high school If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (D-Ill.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoMore than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (D-Hawaii) backed down on Tuesday night from their threats to oppose “non-diversity” nominations made by the president over a lack of appointments for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates.

 

Earlier Tuesday, Duckworth told reporters that she alerted the White House of her plans to oppose any non-diverse nominees until she gets a commitment from the executive branch for more high-ranking Asian American nominations. However, she received that commitment on Tuesday night as a spokesman said that the administration relayed that they will do “much more” to elevate AAPI voices, including “appointing an AAPI senior White House official to represent the community” (NBC News).

 

The threats posed a problem for the administration as it needs all 50 Democrats to be unified in order to confirm partisan nominees in the 50-50 Senate (The Hill). Duckworth and Hirono are the two lone Asian American senators.

 

> Bipartisan yearning: Biden allies on Capitol Hill, led by Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden to go one-on-one with Manchin US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 MORE (D-Del.), would prefer to see Congress pass a jobs and infrastructure blueprint with a bipartisan vote tally before shifting towards work on a $3 trillion bill that Democratic leaders will move under special budgetary rules, likely sans any GOP backing.

 

White House advisers said earlier in the week that they are considering breaking up the $3 trillion infrastructure package in two pieces (The Hill). One would include traditional infrastructure projects, aimed at snagging the support of Republican senators. The other would address climate change and other liberal pet projects that are highly unlikely to garner bipartisan votes. 

 

Coons, among the chief conduits on Capitol Hill for the administration, believes the window for passing a big-ticket bipartisan legislative item is evaporating as Biden’s main selling point to GOP voters was that he would reach across the aisle. After picking off no Republican votes for the stimulus package, winning some support would help alleviate concerns that he’d violate a top campaign pledge. 

 

Scott Wong, The Hill: Conservative group escalates earmarks war by infiltrating trainings.

 

> Filibuster fun: Senate Democrats are plotting a series of tests as they try to put Republicans on the spot over the legislative filibuster and sway their colleagues to get rid of it. 

 

As The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, Schumer says he will put on the floor several major policy bills that are expected to win unanimous or near-unanimous Democratic support this year, a strategy that has two objectives. They would put Senate Republicans on the record in opposition and attempt to sway Senate Democratic Conference members wary of jettisoning the 60-vote threshold that much of the party’s agenda will end up in the Senate graveyard without doing away with the blockade. 



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



OPINION

Chaos at the border was predictable. So why wasn’t Biden prepared? By Karen Tumulty, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3cdr5fy 

 

Should you take the shot or should you wait? By Marc Siegel, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3w2iVP9 



WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets on Friday at 2 p.m. for a pro forma session. 

 

The Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. and resumes consideration of Rachel LevineRachel LevineBiden administration loosens restrictions on meds for opioid use disorder amid rise in deaths Overnight Health Care: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | White House launches media blitz to promote vaccines White House launches media effort to promote coronavirus vaccines MORE to be an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, and David Turk to be deputy secretary of Energy.

 

The president and the vice president receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. and will have lunch together at 12:30 p.m. Biden and Harris will meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraMcDonald's teams up with HHS on pro-vaccination campaign Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasImmigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Carper urges Biden to nominate ambassadors amid influx at border Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service MORE and immigration advisers at 2 p.m. Biden hosts an event with first lady Jill BidenJill BidenJill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip Masks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' First Latina since 2005 wins Teacher of the Year award MORE  to mark Equal Pay Day at 4:15 p.m.

 

Harris is interviewed today on "CBS This Morning," appearing between 7-9 a.m. and will also participate in an Equal Pay Day event at 3:30 p.m.

 

The White House press briefing is at 12:30 p.m. The administration’s coronavirus response team will brief the press at 10:30 a.m. 

 

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenProgressive groups call for Biden to denounce evictions of Palestinians as 'war crimes' Why women make great diplomats — tales from a 'tough-girl negotiator' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden expresses optimism on bipartisanship; Cheney ousted MORE is in Brussels at a NATO meeting of foreign ministers (Reuters). 

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies to the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. On Tuesday he told the House that he expects interest rates to remain low (Reuters).

 

INVITATIONS: The Hill’s Virtually Live packs this week’s calendar with smart conversations about key issues! TODAY join “The Loss of Nature: A Global Threat” at 1 p.m. (registration HERE). Thursday is “The COVID-19 Vaccine & the New Era of Manufacturing,” at 1 p.m. (registration HERE).

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube



ELSEWHERE

INTERNATIONAL: North Korea tested multiple short-range missiles over the weekend in a challenge to the Biden administration not previously reported. The president and his aides have not outlined an approach to the regime’s nuclear threat amid a U.S.-North Korea policy review. U.S. diplomats have informed allies in Asia in recent weeks that the Biden strategy will differ from both former President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE’s top-down approach of meeting directly with Kim and former President Obama’s bottom-up formulation, which swore off engagement until Pyongyang improved its behavior (The Washington Post). …. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE’s prospects for retaining power looked uncertain today after partial results in the country’s fourth national election in two years on Tuesday projected no clear path to victory (Reuters and The Associated Press).

 

TECH: The CEOs of the country's most powerful social media platforms will testify Thursday before a Congress eager to focus on misinformation that spread through their platforms in the leadup to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Facebook's Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot MORE, Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Google's Sundar Pichai will testify before two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees (The Hill).

 

MARS: NASA hopes its $80 million, petite helicopter on the red planet will make history with a flyover in early April. If successful, it would be the first controlled, powered flight on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced on Tuesday (Science Magazine).

 

 

The Mars rover

 



THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s the 20th anniversary of one of the wackiest and most bizarre sports moments in history. 

 

On March 24, 2001, Randy Johnson, winner of 309 games and National Baseball Hall of Famer, famously (or infamously) struck a bird on a pitch during a spring training game — a moment that has not been replicated ever since (and probably won’t be). 

 

In case you’re wondering, the official call was “no pitch.” 

 

A public service announcement: Opening Day is in EIGHT days. One of us at the Morning Report cannot wait.

 

 

A bird is killed by a Randy Johnson fastball