Morning Report

The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Winter is here for Democrats

A winter storm delivers heavy snow to the Capitol
Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

                               Presented by Altria

A winter storm delivers heavy snow to the Capitol



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! 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 each morning this week: Monday, 826,064; Tuesday, 827,749.

The hush of 8 to 10 inches of snow in Washington put a temporary chill on Senate action on Monday as Democrats searched for a way to resurrect an agenda and turn their attention to the heat of battle over voting rights.


Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to Senate Democrats on Monday that he will force a vote by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to change Senate rules if Republicans again block voting rights legislation.  


“The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy,” Schumer wrote (The Hill). 


The move marks the Democratic leader’s latest offensive to alter the upper chamber’s rules in a bid to force through a voting rights package — one of the top priorities of progressives. Over the past year, the GOP has used the 60-vote threshold to block voting rights and election reform bills.


The renewed effort also coincides with this week’s anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, with the majority party using the marker to emphasize the need for new legislation. However, what lies ahead is a very significant roadblock no Democrat has been able to overcome: opposition by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to altering filibuster rules.


As The Hill’s Jordain Carney notes, the pair of centrist lawmakers have withstood months of high-profile criticism and pressure campaigns aimed at getting them to cave on the issue, with little progress to show. Sinema reiterated in late December that she backs the 60-vote requisite and is still wary of creating a carve out for the issue at hand. Manchin has also declined to back any changes over the years.


“I don’t want to be pollyannaish here. This is an uphill fight,” Schumer told MSNBC earlier on Tuesday. 


Politico: Schumer tries to jump-start Dems with rules change threat.


Amie Parnes and Alex Gangitano, The Hill: Democrats differ over how President Biden should handle Jan. 6 anniversary. 


The Washington Post: Attorney General Merrick Garland plans speech on Jan. 6 investigation for Wednesday. 


Axios: Former President Trump, Stephen Bannon to counterprogram Dems for Jan. 6 anniversary.


The election reform push is taking over as the preeminent issue of the moment for the majority after Manchin drove a stake through the latest iteration of the Build Back Better agenda, forcing Democrats back to the drawing board on the issue. 


Democratic aides tell The Hill’s Alexander Bolton that the Build Back Better bill won’t be ready for floor action anytime soon and predict the wide-ranging legislation that the White House has negotiated with Manchin and Sinema may have to be completely overhauled.


The issues are both likely to come up later today when Senate Democrats meet virtually to discuss conference business at their first luncheon of the new year due to the omicron variant. The virus has not deterred Senate Republicans, who will continue to meet in person. 





> More Congress Facebook on Monday announced that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was given a 24-hour suspension from use of her account after repeatedly spreading COVID-19 misinformation on the platform (The New York Times). 


The action came a day after Twitter permanently banned her personal account for the same reason, but allowed her official account to remain in use. 


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Twitter ban on Greene reignites political battles. 


Rep. Bobby Rush (Ill.) revealed on Monday that he will not seek reelection after 15 terms in Congress, becoming the 24th House Democrat to decide against running for reelection in November. The longtime Chicago lawmaker who in 2000 handily beat fellow Democrat Barack Obama, who was then a state senator, in a House primary, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his decision came after he mulled it over in recent weeks, noting that a conversation with his grandson helped play a role.


“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush said. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren” (The Hill). 


The Hill: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) formally resigns from Congress. 


The Hill: Biden faces time crunch to pick financial watchdogs.  


Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at


CORONAVIRUS: The Food and Drug Administration on Monday cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster dose for children ages 12 to 15. It also shortened the time to wait for booster shots from six months to five months following the initial series of shots in that age group, based on Israeli research (The Hill).



Two girls wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site on the Martin Luther King Jr. medical campus



Biden this afternoon will be briefed by his COVID-19 advisers and is expected to react publicly for the first time this year to soaring coronavirus infections in Washington, D.C., New York and elsewhere in the nation.


As The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports, Biden’s political supporters worry at the outset of an election year about public impatience and confusion entering a third year of the COVID-19 crisis. The administration is pummeled daily by continued debate and pushback about omicron, vaccination and mask requirements, availability and effectiveness of COVID-19 tests, recommended quarantine periods for symptomatic and non-symptomatic infections, and the meaning of “fully vaccinated” if booster doses are needed every few months.


For cities, counties and states, keeping schools open during COVID-19’s winter surge is a priority, but restrictions, guidance and precautions vary, complicating life for parents, pupils, school administrators and teachers. As a result, many schools are delaying openings. For example, schools in Milwaukee are moving to virtual learning because of a spike in coronavirus infections among staff members (The Hill). Some universities are starting the year online


Celebrities, professional athletes, business leaders, journalists, lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff members are among millions of Americans now testing positive for COVID-19, despite high rates of vaccinations and booster doses. The situation is expected to worsen into February before eventually ebbing, according to public health experts who are studying London and South Africa for clues about omicron’s trajectory. Hospital physicians and nurses warn that while fatalities from COVID-19 are fewer because of the rising rates of vaccinations, risks to the U.S. population and a fraying health care system should not be taken lightly.


Skyrocketing cases of breakthrough virus infection within the halls of Congress compelled the top medical official at the U.S. Capitol to urge lawmakers and their staff members on Monday to work remotely and take additional precautions, such as wearing well-fitting medical-grade N95 or KN95 masks.  


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his countrymen on Monday that omicron is “plainly milder” than delta and other coronavirus variants and that new restrictions in the United Kingdom are not necessary (Reuters). … The United Arab Emirates said over the weekend that it will require citizens who want to travel abroad to show proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted (The Washington Post). … Australia is in lockdown with a record rate of new COVID-19 infections but is nevertheless keen to reopen the economy because the government says omicron often leads to “milder” disease. “We have to stop thinking about case numbers and think about serious illness, living with the virus, managing our own health and ensuring that we’re monitoring those symptoms and we keep our economy going,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. … For those with compromised immune systems, Israel last week approved a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines (The New York Times).


POLITICS: New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office issued subpoenas on Monday for Trump and two of his children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., as part of a civil probe into the Trump Organization’s business practices. 


James’s office told The Hill in a statement that it is seeking to interview the Trumps under oath, while noting that there have been multiple setbacks to the investigation by the organization. 


“Despite numerous attempts to delay our investigation by the Trump Organization, we are confident that our questions will be answered and the truth will be uncovered because no one is above the law,”  a James spokesperson said in a statement.


The former president was also in the news for multiple other reasons on Monday, including for issuing one of his latest endorsements — and going abroad to do so. Trump announced his support for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a right-wing leader widely criticized as an autocrat, saying that he “truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people. 


Orbán was recently snubbed by the Biden administration, which did not invite him to attend a summit on democracy (The Hill).


The Hill: Iran calls for Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to face trial for Qassem Soleimani assassination.


The New York Times: New Hampshire’s top election official announces retirement after 45 years in office. 

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


Why Jan. 6 aftershocks defy expectations, by Gerald F. Seib, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. 


Omicron is bad. But we don’t need to resort to lockdowns, by Leana S. Wen, contributing columnist, The Washington Post. 


Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at


The House returns to work on Monday. 


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Gabriel Sanchez to be a U.S. circuit judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:10 a.m. in the Oval Office. Biden and Harris will be briefed by the White House COVID-19 response team at 2 p.m.


The White House press briefing is scheduled at 2:30 p.m.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.


INTERNATIONAL: South Korea said on Monday that a man who defected across the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and into North Korea last week is likely a North Korean man in his 30s who previously defected to the South in November of 2020. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff revealed that it held a search operation for the man on Saturday after he fled across the DMZ. “The authorities presume the person is a North Korean defector and are in the process of verifying related facts,” South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said on Monday (Reuters).


COURTS: After seven days of deliberations and a four-month trial, a federal jury on Monday convicted former founder and executive Elizabeth Holmes of defrauding Theranos Inc. investors, finding her guilty of four of 11 charges in total. Holmes was found not guilty on four other counts related to defrauding patients. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts, telling Judge Edward Davila that jurors were deadlocked on those. Theranos, which claimed to have invented a breakthrough medical blood testing device with a high rate of accuracy, ceased operations in 2018 (CNBC). Holmes, 37, is not expected to be sentenced for at least six months (The Wall Street Journal). Here’s the history of The Wall Street Journal investigation of Theranos and Holmes, beginning in 2015 and 2016.



Elizabeth Holmes, center, enters federal court in San Jose, Calif.



STATE WATCH: Reminder: Lots of states, cities and counties raised their minimum wages as the new year began (The Hill).State legislatures are getting set for new battles over election-related bills. The stakes couldn’t be higher, reports The Hill’s Reid Wilson. … In Colorado, officials are searching for the cause of the weekend Marshall Fire, now near the top of the list of national “large-loss fires,” or fires responsible for damage exceeding $10 million. The fire destroyed nearly 1,000 structures during wind-whipped conditions that began on Thursday, spreading flames to 6,219 acres. Investigators said on Monday they are still probing the fire’s cause (The Hill and The Denver Post).


And finally … ⛄❅ Around the nation on Monday, winter weather complicated travel and commutes for thousands as more than 1,800 U.S. flights were canceled after a holiday weekend marred by missed connections, passenger delays, airline staff shortages and the continued spread of COVID-19.


Bad, yes. But in and around Washington, D.C., at least, all that white stuff helped many find some unexpected joy.



James Penn of Annapolis, Md., cross country skis in Annapolis, Md.




LJ Dawson, from Washington, plays with her dogs Jett, left, and Saroo, on the National Mall in the snow




People sled down the hill at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial


Tags Barack Obama Bobby Rush Boris Johnson Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Devin Nunes Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Marjorie Taylor Greene Merrick Garland Mike Pompeo
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