12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Lawmakers say gun legislation unlikely after Nashville shooting

AP Photo/John Amis
People gather at an entry to Covenant School, which has become a memorial for shooting victims, on March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.

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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.

President Biden repeatedly has called on lawmakers to ban assault weapons, but many Republicans agree that any action on gun restrictions is unlikely, even after a shooter killed three children and three adults at a Nashville elementary school this week. 

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) have told reporters this week that they don’t expect movement beyond the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that passed after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last year. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wouldn’t answer reporter questions on the topic on Tuesday (video here via CNN).


Senate Chaplain Barry Black offered a plea for lawmakers to take action against gun violence during a session-opening prayer this week. 

“Lord, when babies die at a church school it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers,” Black said. “Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’” 


More details are emerging about shooter Audrey Hale. (CNN)

It’s Wednesday, March 23, and that means we’ve made it to Hump Day. I’m Elizabeth Crisp, filling in for Cate, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. Have a scoop, tip, funny joke or thoughts on who’s gonna win the “Top Chef: World All-Stars” season? Email me: ecrisp@thehill.com. Follow me on Twitter @elizabethcrisp.  

In Congress 

Deal or no deal? Debt ceiling impasse continues: 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is still locked in a standoff with President Biden over plans to raise the debt ceiling and prevent an unprecedented national default. 

McCarthy claims Democrats won’t sit down with him, while Democrats have accused him of having no plan to even start negotiations if the House GOP demands spending cuts. 

McCarthy laid out a set of broad proposals in a letter to Biden this week. 

“I am incredibly concerned that you are putting an already fragile economy in jeopardy by insisting upon your extreme position of refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending alongside an increase of the debt limit,” he wrote in the letter. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called McCarthy’s broad suggestions “vague” and “amorphous.”  

Biden, responding with his own letter, proposed that he and McCarthy have an “in-depth conversation” on potential spending reforms when Congress returns from its upcoming two-week break. 

“As I have repeatedly said, that conversation must be separate from prompt action on the Congress’ basic obligation to pay the Nation’s bills and avoid economic catastrophe,” he wrote. 

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Emily Brooks break down the ongoing impasse


The country hit its $31.4 trillion borrowing cap earlier this year, prompting the Treasury Department to take “extraordinary” measures to keep the federal government afloat. 

A full default could come as early as June if those measures are exhausted without Congress lifting the debt limit. 

Economists have warned that a default would ripple through the global economy and possibly create an economic crisis. 


House Republicans are trying to use the debt limit as leverage to cut government spending, which puts them in line with the majority of Americans surveyed in a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 

Sixty percent said they think the government is spending too much, but most also signaled more money is needed for health care, infrastructure and Social Security. 


China says it will take “resolute countermeasures” if the GOP House speaker meets with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as she passes through the U.S. on her way to Central America. 

Stabbed Paul staffer still recovering: 

A staffer for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who was brutally attacked in D.C. over the weekend needed surgery after being stabbed in the head. 

Fox News has the update on what happened to Phillip Todd, who is an economist for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Paul is the ranking member of the committee. 

According to Fox, Todd’s uncle is calling on people to “please continue to pray” for his nephew, who suffered injuries to the abdomen, skull, brain and lungs. 

“Doctors are concerned about possible seizures for the next month resulting from the deep knife wound to the head,” his uncle Tim Todd wrote on Facebook. “Phillip is resting well.”  

NBC Washington reports that suspect Glynn Neal was released from prison just one day before the stabbing, and investigators believe the attack was random.

🌎 In the White House 

Biden says US will fund global democracy efforts: 

President Biden is pledging up to $690 million in funding for his administration’s Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, as he speaks to the second U.S.-led Summit on Democracy this week. 

Getting a preview of the plan, The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports the money will be go to countries around the globe to help fight corruption, support media independence and defend free and fair elections.  

A senior administration official told reporters the summit is intended to highlight “a critical issue of our time.” 

“As President Biden has said, we’re currently at an inflection point when it comes to the future of democracy both within the United States and globally,” the official said. “When the president came into office, he said that a defining question of this moment is whether democracies will deliver for their people.” 

The most recent Democracy Summit was held in late 2021 — before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

🏃 2024 

Trump on top? Some Republicans ready to capitulate: 

Legal concerns and other controversies aside, more Republicans are coming to terms with the fact that former President Trump could again snag the GOP presidential nomination as he campaigns for 2024. 

“The GOP’s conservative base has largely stood by Trump, and there are signs that his support in the emerging 2024 primary may be solidifying after earlier indications of trouble,” The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t announced a 2024 run but emerged as the most formidable foil to Trump, has recently floundered in the polls. 

“Old habits are hard to break, I guess,” a Republican strategist who’s opposing Trump in the 2024 primary told Greenwood. “I think if you do write him off, you’re writing him off at your own peril. His supporters are loyal. He has a broad base.”  

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are the only Republicans other than Trump to formally announced 2024 campaigns.

🎤 In other news 

Oath Keepers juror details closed-door deliberations: 

One of the jurors in the recently concluded trial of six Oath Keeper affiliates sat down for a 90-minute interview with C-SPAN (her employer) to talk about the experience. 

Four of the accused were ultimately convicted of felony obstructing Congress in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The other two were convicted on misdemeanor trespassing charges. 

Here you can listen to the juror, identified only as Ellen, describe the behind-the-scenes deliberations that jurors had in the case.

🐥 Notable tweets 

Tidal Basin in bloom: 

Have you made it out to the Tidal Basin to check out the cherry blossoms? The National Mall – National Parks Service tweeted some beautiful photos as the trees are starting to shed their pale pink petals.

‘A very interesting story to be told’: 

The Hill’s Julia Manchester recently got a truly cringe (and inaccurate … but somehow not surprising) PR pitch that you must see

🥙  In lighter news 

Today is National Pita Day. Everyone’s favorite flatbread (sorry, naan; I still love you!) is the star of the show today, whether you want to wrap it, dip it or pizza it, embrace the hand food celebration today with your own pita party. 😋

And because you made it this far … After mentioning my cat Walter in Tuesday’s 12:30 Report, I got a couple of reader requests for a photo of Walter. Here she is!! She’s 18 years old, and this photo pretty much shows how active she is these days. 

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 Barry Black debt ceiling Gun control Joe Biden John Cornyn Kevin McCarthy nashville shooting Oath Keepers Rand Paul Trump campaign

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