12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Jaw-droppingly strong jobs report amid economic worries

A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Chicago, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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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. 


Whoa, baby:

The U.S. added an astonishing 517,000 jobs in January (!), according to new data from the Labor Department. 

For context, because most of us aren’t economists: Economists had been expecting a gain of roughly 185,000 jobs in January.  

What about the unemployment rate?: It dipped to 3.4 percent. Economists had predicted an unemployment rate of around 3.6 percent. 

Breakdown from The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom 

Happy Friday! Please stay warm this weekend, especially if you’re in the Northeast. Meteorologists are prediction record-breaking sub-zero temperatures. The full forecast. 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. 

In Congress 

Step one: get on the same page as your team:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with President Biden to discuss raising the debt limit. But while McCarthy has been discussing his desired budget cuts, he has been struggling to find a unified strategy with his own caucus. 

First, there are the defense hawks: “Defense hawks are fighting to maintain — or even increase — military spending, putting pressure on GOP leaders to slash other domestic programs, including the major entitlements.”  

And then there are the moderate Republicans: “Moderate Republicans are wary of cutting Medicare and Social Security, shifting pressure back on the Pentagon and other discretionary programs.” 

And then there are the budget hawks: “The staunchest budget hawks are demanding that GOP leaders balance the budget within a decade, which is virtually impossible without steep spending reductions in defense, entitlements or both.” 

Sooooo, that seems easy to reconcile… 

How this could play out, via The Hill’s Aris Folley and Mike Lillis

🎈 Getting traction 

Maybe Carl and Russell from ‘Up’ just miscalculated their balloon situation?:

NBC News’s Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee first reported on Wednesday that the U.S. government discovered a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the United States. Read the NBC report

Video of the ballCBS News tweeted video 

Did they shoot it down?: No, but officials are monitoring it. 

From Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder: “The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government … continues to track and monitor it closely.”  

Is there an active threat with the balloon?: Ryder said the balloon’s altitude is “well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”  

What about the balloon collecting information?: Ryder said once it was discovered, the U.S. “acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”  


McCarthy called for a briefing: “Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) quickly called for a briefing for the Gang of Eight, the top members of Congress who receive classified intelligence from the executive branch, expressing concern about the breaching of U.S. airspace.”  

^ McCarthy also tweeted: “China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent.”  

And former President Trump posted on Truth Social: “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!”   

Blinken postponed his China trip: Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a scheduled trip to Beijing this evening. The implications of the postponementvia The Hill’s Laura Kelly 

Beijing confirmed this morning that the balloon is, in fact, Chinese and entered the U.S. unintentionally.  

What is China saying the balloon is used for?: Meteorological research 


Business Insider’s Bryan Metzger tweeted, “I think what we need is a convoy of journalists in trucks following the Chinese spy balloon around Montana as if it’s George Santos walking to an elevator in Longworth.”  

🏃‍♂️ 2024 

President Biden and Vice President Harris are off to Philadelphia for a rare joint trip. The two are expected to speak at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting. What we know about the trip 


1. “What’s her appeal?” 

2. “How strongly will she and Trump attack each other?” She did work in his administration. 

3. “What does her decision mean for other yet-to-declare candidates?”  

4. “What if another South Carolina candidate, Sen. Tim Scott, runs?” 

5. “Does she have a real shot?” 

The Hill’s Niall Stanage explains the context surrounding each of these major questions 

🍿 The talk of social media 

Netflix really ruffled some feathers this week:

Netflix is cracking down on password sharing, altering its platform to only allow one household to use an account.  

So, how will this work?: Users will need to designate a primary Wi-Fi location and login from that location every 31 days. Users can request a temporary code to use another location, but that feature is limited. Mashable’s full explanation on how the new policy will work 

The new proposed plans are getting some strong reactions from users. 

The Independent compiled a few reactions to the news 

^ Like this: @EmpathyandTrust tweeted: “@netflix you are so out of touch with your customers… Kids from separated homes, college / uni students, those who regularly stay in hospital, those who travel regularly: armed forces, pilots etc..you are going to lose customers even if it’s just out of principle.”  

An old tweet that has been dug up: Social media users have found a 2017 tweet from the official Netflix Twitter account that reads, “Love is sharing a password.” See the old tweet 

🦠 The COVID-19 numbers

Cases to date: 102.4 million 

Death toll: 1,106,824 

Current hospitalizations: 23,062 

Shots administered: 668 million 

Fully vaccinated: 69.2 percent of Americans 

CDC data here. 

🐥Notable tweets 

I couldn’t agree with you more, Nance

@OverheardWDC tweeted, “[Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] walking with 2 guards and a staffer in Longworth basement: ‘I just finished a meeting and now it’s donut time.’”  


Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) posted a screenshot of a segment he joined on Fox News. He tweeted, “@BretBaier,  Next time I’m appearing by @Zoom!” Screenshot of the segment setup 

On tap 

The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Philadelphia today.

  • 8:30 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing. 
  • 12:40 p.m.: Harris leaves for Philadelphia. 
  • 1 p.m.: Biden leaves for Philadelphia. 
  • 5:15 p.m.: Biden and Harris participate in a reception for the Democratic National Committee. 
  • 6 p.m.: Biden and Harris speak at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting. 
  • 7:10 p.m.: Biden leaves for Delaware. 
  • 7:25 p.m.: Harris leaves for Washington, D.C. 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7: The Senate meets next. Senate agenda

All times Eastern. 

📺 What to watch 

  • This morningPresident Biden delivered remarks on the January jobs’ report. Watch 
  • 1:40 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One. Livestream 
  • 3:15 p.m.: Biden and Harris deliver remarks on their economic agenda. Livestream 
  • Sunday morning: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

🥕 In lighter news 

Today is National Carrot Cake Day! And to give you time to properly prepare, Sunday is World Nutella Day!

And to leave you in a festive mood for the weekend, watch this Snoopy dance party.

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 Antony Blinken Biden China economy Inflation Jobs report Kevin McCarthy Netflix Spy balloon Unemployment

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