12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — SNL losing some of its best talent

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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.

GETTING TRACTION 

SNL is losing some of its best talent: 

Pete DavidsonKate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney and are leaving Saturday Night Live.

When?: At the end of the season, which concluded on Saturday night 

Watch Pete Davidson’s last ‘Weekend Update.’ 

Watch the cold open with Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. 

^ Ah, that explains it: “The show first said goodbye to McKinnon by opening the show with a recreation of one of the comedian’s most memorable sketches, ‘Close Encounter.’” More from CNN’s Frank Pallotta

IT’S MONDAY. Welcome back! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

🍼 The formula shortage 

Abbott CEO apologizes for the shortage

In a Washington Post op-ed on Sunday, Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford apologized to customers for contributing to the baby formula shortage in the U.S. — and outlined how his company is hoping to help the situation. Read the op-ed 

Excerpt: “We’re sorry to every family we’ve let down since our voluntary recall exacerbated our nation’s baby formula shortage.”  

HAPPENING ON WEDNESDAY
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is scheduled to testify on the formula shortage.  

Also testifying: Abbott Senior Vice President of U.S. Nutrition Christopher J. Calamari. Hearing details

THIS IS A WELCOM SIGHT
Here is C-SPAN video of military flights, carrying 78,000 lbs. of baby formula, arriving in the U.S. from Europe. Watch 

Photo of the formula loaded onto a plane in Germany

In Congress 

Live look at Biden’s agenda

Via The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Morgan Chalfant, “Democrats once hailed Build Back Better as the policy that could help them win the midterms. But as even the possibility of a scaled-back version of President Biden’s signature legislation fizzles in the 50-50 Senate, some are wondering if the president will have anything comparable to campaign on as the election season inches closer.” 

What Democrats are touting: The bipartisan infrastructure law and the COVID-19 relief bill. 

Yes, but: “But some in the party question whether those feats are enough to energize voters, particularly after Democrats spent months last year talking about lowering childcare costs, paid leave and extending the now-expired temporary expansion of the child tax credit as an answer to the pressures families are feeling from inflation.” What to expect in the coming months 

What’s on the docket this week?

A response to the shooting in Buffalo, N.Y.: “Democratic leaders are looking to move the House-passed domestic terrorism bill, which was brought up in the lower chamber days after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.” Yes, but: Republicans are trying to block the legislation.  

Migrant policy: A federal judge blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, a Trump-era policy that was put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. The decision “will likely reverberate throughout the Capitol this week, as lawmakers react to the bombshell decision on the Trump-era border policy that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border.” 

Baby formula: Lawmakers are working on the baby formula shortage with a pair of bills. The first bill passed both chambers of Congress and is moving to President Biden’s desk. The Second bill passed the House but will have a tough time in the Senate.  

Context and details for each, via The Hill’s Mychael Schnell

From Biden’s Asia trip 

Biden caused some headaches for his staff:


During a press conference in Japan earlier today, President Biden said the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily if China invades. 

The problem: The U.S.’s strategy has always been “strategic ambiguity” — to basically stay vague and avoid committing to potentially fighting China. NYT explainer

How Biden’s staff reacted: “The White House shortly after the press conference reiterated Biden’s comments that the U.S. position on Taiwan has not changed.”  

Back story on where the U.S. stands with Taiwan in relation to China: “Under the ‘one China’ policy, the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as a separate state from China. And under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the U.S. is committed to providing Taiwan with arms for its defense. The law does not commit the U.S. to sending troops to Taiwan to defend it.” More from The Hill’s Brett Samuels 

If this feels like déjà vu for you — this sequence has happened before: “Biden was asked at a CNN town hall last October whether the U.S. would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, and he said the U.S. would. The White House quickly walked back Biden’s comments at the time, saying he was not announcing a policy change.”

TIDBIT
The New York Times’s Zolan Kanno-Youngs tweeted that “Biden was asked by  

[CNN’s Kaitlan Collins] if he had a message for Kim Jong-un. ‘Hello,’ he said before pausing for a couple seconds. ‘Period.’ ” Photo from the presser

BIDEN AND JAPAN’S PRIME MINISTER ARE HAVING A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
Via The Daily Mail’s Geoff EarlePresident Biden dined with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at one of Tokyo’s top restaurants

Photo of the menu, from Politico’s Alex Thompson

🦠 Latest with COVID

 BY THE NUMBERS 

Cases to date: 83 million 

Death toll: 999,254 

Current hospitalizations: 16,462 

Shots administered: 584 million 

Fully vaccinated: 66.5 percent of Americans 

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

Goodbye to NYC’s last pay phone

@DanLevitan tweeted a video of the last payphone in New York City being removed. Watch — there it goes 

Backstory from Fox 5 New York 

Tidbit from foreign reporter:

Reuters’ Idrees Ali tweeted, “Yesterday on an official trip with Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Hicks, my phone was confiscated by a DoD official, locked up and I was stopped from using electronics because of a new policy that bars non-US reporters from using devices on govt planes. (Pic taken by US citizen).” Photo 

Ali later added: “Since the incident yesterday morning and to their credit, the Pentagon has apologized and said my phone will not be taken from again and the new U.S. Air Force policy is being reviewed.” The full thread of tweets 

More from The Hill’s Jordan Williams.

On tap 

The House is out. The Senate has a pro forma session today. President Biden is in Japan. Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C.

  • 6 a.m.: Biden had dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in Tokyo. 
  • 1:45 p.m.: The Senate holds a pro forma session. 
  • 9:30 p.m.: Biden attends the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo.  
  • 1:30 a.m.: Biden meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, followed by a meeting with Australian Prime Minister-Designate Anthony Albanese
  • 10 a.m. Tuesday: The Senate meets next. Senate schedule 
  • 8:40 p.m. Tuesday: Biden returns to the White House. 
  • 1 p.m. Tuesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Antibiotic Resistance: A Looming Public Health Crisis.” Featured speakers: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) and HHS Asst. Sec. Dawn O’Connell. Details and RSVP 
  • 1 p.m. Wednesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Advancing America’s Economy.” Featured speakers: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), NEC deputy director David Kamin and Harvard Kennedy School’s Jason Furman. Details and RSVP 

All times Eastern. 

📺What to watch

  • 11:30 a.m.: “Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley discuss the potential for more military aid to Ukraine following a meeting special meeting with other nations.” C-SPAN video 
  • 2:45 p.m.Vice President Harris discusses mental health during a visit to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.Livestream

🍬 In lighter news 

Today is National Taffy Day

This turkey is serving our country

Via WUSA’s Chioma-Emilia Ahaghotu, a wild turkey has been spotted following funeral processions at Arlington National Cemetery. Yes, yes, there’s a photo 

And to leave you with a reason for why I dislike seagulls, watch what happened to this pizza.

Tags 12:30 Report 12:30 Report Biden Asia trip Kate McKinnon Pete Davidson Robert Califf Robert Ford Saturday Night Live SNL

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