12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — DeSantis moves toward 2024 bid

FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. DeSantis has emerged as a political star early in the 2024 presidential election season even as he ignores many conventions of modern politics. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

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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.


Here comes Ron DeSantis … :

In a sign of what’s likely to come later this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is taking his pre-2024 campaign roadshow to Iowa today and Nevada on Saturday as he gears up to give what might be the stiffest challenge to former President Trump’s standing in the GOP.

According to The Washington Post, DeSantis has laid out his plans for a presidential bid “without any caveats that would suggest he’s still deciding,” per two people familiar with his remarks. Coupling that with his stops in Davenport, Iowa, and Las Vegas next week, and that his allies launched a pro-DeSantis super PAC on Thursday — well, it means things on the GOP side are about to get more interesting. 


DeSantis is expected to announce at some point after the Florida state legislative session wraps in May. 

In the meantime, DeSantis and his allies have some monetary decisions to make. Namely, what to do with roughly $70 million he has in his coffers. Because it was raised under rules at the state level and not under those that cover federal campaigns, it is unlikely he can use it directly for his campaign. Most likely, his team will transfer it to a pro-DeSantis PAC for its utilization there. 

Is Davenport the center of the GOP universe? Not really, but it sure seems like it! Trump is set to appear there on Monday in what will be his first stop in the state as part of his 2024 bid. Per a new Des Moines Register poll, Trump’s support in the first-in-the-nation caucus state is falling. 


The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes today about Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) appearance at a CNN Town Hall from last night. In addition, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is in West Des Moines, Iowa, today, having hosted a town hall event in Nevada, Iowa, on Thursday. 

DeSantis might be the least of Trump’s worries. As The New York Times reported last night, Trump could be on the verge of facing criminal charges for his role in paying off Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. 

It’s Friday (thank goodness). I’m Al Weaver, filling in for Cate today, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

❓In the Senate

McConnell hospitalization sparks GOP questions:

It’s murky times for Senate Republicans as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remains hospitalized and is being treated for a concussion after he tripped and fell during a fundraiser on Wednesday night.

McConnell has long been the bedrock of the conference, having become the longest-serving party leader in Senate history earlier this year. However, as The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, the latest situation has some in the party looking toward what a post-McConnell universe on Capitol Hill might look like for Senate Republicans.

“I am a huge fan of Mitch McConnell. I think he has the ability to lead a very diverse group of individuals in a way that is masterful,” one GOP senator who requested anonymity told Bolton when asked about the impact of McConnell’s injury on the Senate GOP conference. 

“I think, who would be our next leader and what kind of leader would that person be?” the senator continued. “Yeah, I do worry about that.” 

“He’s always thinking ahead in terms of initiatives. He’s thinking about how the players on his team can fit. He’s got a knack for that that I don’t think you find in many others,” the member said.

The Three Johns: Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a top McConnell ally, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are considered leading figures to replace the longtime Kentucky senator atop the conference.

The Senate returns to work on Monday afternoon. It is unknown whether McConnell will return to the Capitol next week. 

Senate absences: McConnell is one of three senators who are currently away from the Capitol for health-related reasons. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.) remain sidelined as they continue treatment for shingles and clinical depression, respectively. 

📊 The economy

Jobs, jobs, jobs :

The U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs in February, but the unemployment rate increased to 3.6 percent, according to data unveiled by the Labor Department on Friday. 

According to economists, around 225,000 jobs were expected to be added last month while the unemployment rate was also expected to keep steady at 3.4 percent. The pair of figures show that the labor market may finally be getting some slack, according to The Hill’s Tobias Burns, who also notes that the job gains could heap more pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep their pedal to the metal and hike rates.

Some additional breakdowns on the latest job figures from The Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

💸 In the House

The debt ceiling demands from conservatives are here:

House conservatives on Friday finally laid out their demands as part of the burgeoning debt ceiling fight that is set to continue until early summer. 

The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) released a position paper stating their wants in any deal with the White House and congressional Democrats. Among them: Cap discretionary spending at Fiscal 2022 levels for 10 years, nix President Biden’s push to forgive student debt, cut $80 billion that was previously greenlit to expand the Internal Revenue Service and claw back all unspent COVID-19 funds. 

According to the group, these are their demands just to “consider” raising the nation’s borrowing authority. 

“The plan is to shrink Washington and grow America,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), HFC’s chairman.

You want to read more about it? Give Emily Brook’s dispatch from Capitol Hill a gander

The House was also active this morning as it voted unanimously (419-0) to require Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify information related to the origins of COVID-19. The Hill’s Mychael Schnell has more

🌏In the World 

Power for life, eh?:

Chinese President Xi Jinping was handed a third five-year term in office by the National People’s Congress on Friday, setting him up to become ruler of the world power for the foreseeable future as tensions continue to rise with the U.S.

The NPC’s vote for Xi was 2,952 to 0. The move comes after Xi broke with Chinese tradition in October and named himself to serve a third term as party general secretary. Previous occupants have served in power for a decade before handing off their duties. 

As The Associated Press notes, the two-term limit on the Chinese presidency was previously deleted from the nation’s constitution, indicating that Xi could look to remain in power for the rest of his lifetime. 

Here’s more on Xi’s move via The New York Times and Reuters.

🐥Notable tweets

A day late, but happy 6th anniversary to those who celebrate:

One of the greatest moments in the history of the internet. And from BBC Dad himself, here’s a thread commemorating last year’s anniversary

On tap

The House is done for the day. Senate is out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington.

  • 9 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Only House votes of the day. Today’s House agenda.
  • 1:30 p.m.: Harris convenes a roundtable with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on worker unionization. 
  • 2 p.m.: Biden holds a bilateral meeting with European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.
  • 2:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, along with Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse, will brief reporters.
  • 5:55 p.m.: Biden departs the White House for New Castle, Del. He will arrive at 6:50 p.m.

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch

  • This morning: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified before the House Ways and Means Committee. Watch
  • This morning: State and Election Officials testified on the 2022 midterms. Watch

🍬 In lighter news

Today is International Bagpipe Day! 

More importantly though:

The 95th Academy Awards is on Sunday night. 

Two things to watch for: 1) Will it be a big night for “Everything, Everywhere All At Once?” and 2) Will the show be as longggg as the previous edition? Last year’s show lasted 3 hours and 42 minutes (The 12:30 Report will take the under). 

EVEN MORE importantly though:

“The Last of Us” finale is Sunday night. Who thought it was a good idea for us, the television consumers of America, to put the two programs head to head? 

And because you made it this far, the World Baseball Classic is back and it’s a party.

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 China debt ceiling DeSantis campaign economy Iowa Jobs report McConnell fall Mitch McConnell Nikki Haley Oscars The Last of Us

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