The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Senate nears recess without passing COVID-19 relief

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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.


Let’s mix it up and give this guy the dais today. I want the vote announced like a game show intro:

The Senate is expected to vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination for the Supreme Court this afternoon.

Republicans are simplifying the process: Republicans could have delayed Jackson’s vote until tomorrow by requiring 30 hours of debate. But they agreed to hold the vote today. Keep in mind: Senators are eager to leave for their two-week recess.

What to expect for the final vote: All 50 Democrats will vote “yes.” Three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) — are also expected to vote “yes.”

Will she start right away?: No, Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring this summer.

When will the final vote take place?: Around 1:45 p.m. EDT, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Follow along!: Here’s the C-SPAN livestream of the confirmation votes. Watch:

It’s Thursday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Nancy Pelosi has COVID-19

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has tested positive for COVID-19.

The gist: She is fully vaccinated and boosted. She is asymptomatic but is quarantining.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted: “After testing negative this week, Speaker Pelosi received a positive test result for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic … [She] will quarantine consistent with CDC guidance, and encourages everyone to get vaccinated, boosted and test regularly.” See Hammill’s full tweets:

Cue the umpire — you’re out

Via The Hill’s Laura Kelly, “The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council amid global outrage over atrocities Moscow’s forces are believed to have committed against civilians in Ukraine.” The full story — and implications:

Every senator agrees with this one:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, capping off weeks of negotiations that had stalled the bill.”

The vote: 100-0

What else?: “The Senate is also expected to pass a separate bill to codify the Biden administration’s ban on Russian oil imports on Thursday. The two bills have been effectively linked together in the Senate and were part of a deal announced on Wednesday night.”

A full explainer:

GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Warren Davidson (Ohio), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Scott Perry (Pa.) all opposed the bill.

Whoops!: “A spokesman for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said the congresswoman mistakenly voted against the bill, and plans to tell the House clerk that she meant to vote in favor.”

The full story:


Dems in tough Senate races are pretty annoyed with Biden:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that it would retire the order that prevents migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. because of risk of COVID-19 spread.

The good news: That means the public health risk is lower, which is a victory.

Yes, but: Some vulnerable Democrats see the timing as a liability.

How so: It could open the flood gates at the border, just a few months before a tough midterm election.

For example — from two senators who are in tough reelection battles: Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) called it “wrong.” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said the White House “does not appear to be ready” for the potential surge.

Where the battle lines are drawn, via The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch and Rafael Bernal:

Schumer longingly daydreams of clearing the docket before recess:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Senate Democrats are staring down a box canyon as they head into a two-week break with no sign of how to break an entrenched stalemate on $10 billion in coronavirus aid.”

Here’s the thing — this wasn’t expected to be a huge fight: Senators had hoped this bill would pass quickly — it was a bipartisan group of senators that agreed to a deal, after all.

^ But immigration became intertwined: Republicans want to vote on an extension on Title 42 — a Trump-era policy to expels migrants at the border due to COVID-19 concerns.

Adding to the pressure: Immigration is a big issue for Republicans in the midterms.

How this could play out:


This story has been a wild ride:

Remember the fox that was spotted around the U.S. Capitol grounds in the past few days? The fox that bit nine people? Well, the fox was captured yesterday and euthanized.

Uh oh — this is the big update: The euthanized fox has tested positive for rabies.

^ I learned something new: Apparently animals can only be tested for rabies post-mortem because a brain sample is needed.

The fox’s babies — or kits — were also found and captured: “Officials would not disclose where the kits were being kept or whether they, too, would be euthanized,” according to The Washington Post.

The full story from The Washington Post’s Dana Hedgpeth:


Politico’s Ximena Bustillo was among those bit by the fox: She tweeted, “You’re telling me I survived three years of a pandemic … to be bit by a rabid fox.”

The story arch: The Daily Beast’s Matt Fuller summed up the progression of the fox story.

“Day 1: LOL a fox on Capitol Hill. How cute?! [hearts and fox emojis]

Day 2: The fox has bitten a number of people, including Members of Congress

Day 3: We have captured the fox [sad emoji]

Day 4: The fox has been executed. Also, it had rabies.

Day 5: [Grimacing face emojis]”

What happens now: “DC Health is contacting all human victims who were bitten by the fox. Animal control will post informational flyers around Capitol Hill advising of the fox’s positive rabies status and encouraging people who might have been exposed to call DC Health.” (Via NBC Washington)



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 80,251,517

U.S. death toll: 983,869

Breakdown of the numbers:


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 563 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 116,320 doses

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.

Breakdown of the numbers:


I love her reaction:

On what appears to be the set of the TV series “This Is Us,” actress Chrissy Metz successfully guessed the Wordle on her first try. The reaction from Mandy Moore and Sterling K. Brown is pretty great. Watch:

**If you play: Don’t worry, this does not give away today’s Wordle! The video was posted yesterday!** 

Here’s a good story out of Ukraine:

CBS Mornings tweeted video of a Husky being reunited with its owner in Bucha, Ukraine. Video:


The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

10:15 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.

10:30 a.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today:


1 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing. Livestream:


Today is National Beer Day and National Burrito Day! 

To celebrate, here’s a list of discounts and specials for both burritos and beer today: From USA Today:

^ Wow what a find. Here’s the full clip of Martha Stewart eating a Taco Bell burrito and drinking a beer with Conan O’Brien

And because you made it this far, here’s what happens when you leave a border collie home alone:

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.