The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron

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The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.


To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here: https://bit.ly/30ARS1U

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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.

NEWS THIS MORNING

I mean, maybe we should try Kevin McCallister's battle plan?:

via GIPHY

This afternoon, President Biden is expected to announce new measures to fight COVID-19 in the winter months as the first case of omicron was detected in the U.S. https://bit.ly/3xOcEaX

When Biden is expected to announce the new measures: At 1:40 p.m. EST. Watch it live: https://bit.ly/3DglQGi

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING BIDEN'S ANNOUNCEMENT:

Increased testing requirements for international travelers: International air travelers, regardless of vaccination or nationality, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of the flight. How that's different: It shortens the time from 72 hours.

Opening family vaccination clinics: The administration will open family vaccination clinics and start a public campaign to encourage all seniors to get their booster.

Insurance reimbursements for at-home COVID-19 tests: Biden will announce that Americans with private insurance will be reimbursed for at-home COVID-19 tests. Keep in mind: This is not expected to be retroactive(!) More on that policy: https://bit.ly/31ieuVj

Keep those masks on when you fly, take the train, etc.: "The Biden administration will extend the requirement that passengers on domestic flights, trains and public transportation wear face masks through mid-March amid concerns about the new omicron coronavirus variant." https://bit.ly/3IeTBeI

What else to expect during Biden's announcement: From The Hill's Morgan Chalfant and Nathaniel Weixel: https://bit.ly/3xOcEaX

'OMICRON COULD KNOCK A FRAGILE ECONOMIC RECOVERY OFF TRACK':

Via The New York Times's Patricia Cohen in London, U.K.: https://nyti.ms/31rpK1P

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 cmartel@thehill.com - and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily: http://bit.ly/2UoupvN

IN CONGRESS

But doesn't another shutdown SoUnD fUn?! - she says, oozing with sarcasm:

Via The Hill's Aris Folley, "Top congressional leaders said on early Thursday that they have reached an agreement on a spending deal to fund the government through mid-February as lawmakers work to stave off a shutdown on Friday." https://bit.ly/3EkXTyJ

Does the short-term funding bill change anything?: Nope, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the bill "includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy."

The top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee confirmed a deal: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said a deal had been reached and emphasized the need to negotiate a longer funding bill in 2022.

Psssst:

House passing the CR
House passing the CR

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3G5ttRC

^ A SHUTDOWN HADN'T SEEMED LIKE A SERIOUS POSSIBILITY. WHAT CHANGED?:

Yesterday, a group of conservative lawmakers threatened to hold up the short-term funding bill unless there was a vote to defund President Biden's vaccine mandate. https://bit.ly/3EdE6kK

But House and Senate leaders reached a deal this morning, so hopefully, that holds.

PELOSI WEIGHS IN:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters: "I don't think Republicans in the Senate want to shut down [the] government. I don't even think they have the votes to do so." (Via Punchbowl's John Bresnahan) https://bit.ly/3G7WFr5

Livestream of Pelosi's morning remarks: https://bit.ly/3rvROf9

TIDBIT - WHAT IT MUST BE LIKE TO BE MCCARTHY'S SHOES THESE DAYS:

"It's a tough position. This isn't about herding cats. Everybody is a Type-A personality to get here, so it's like herding ravenous lions," said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), explaining McCarthy's position. More on the headaches the far-right is giving McCarthy, via The Hill's Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos: https://bit.ly/3xOvXAI

IN THE SUPREME COURT

This would be HUGE:

Via The New York Times's Adam Liptak, "The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, in what would be a momentous and polarizing decision to roll back the abortion rights the court has defined over the last half century." https://nyti.ms/3GbzQCL

Why it seems possible for the court to essentially dismantle Roe v. Wade: During the oral arguments, the six conservative justices seemed comfortable upholding Mississippi's abortion ban. Several justices even seemed "appeared ready to go further and overrule Roe entirely, letting states decide whether and when to ban abortions."

When will we know the court's decision: Not until June or July

What we know: https://nyti.ms/3GbzQCL

TIDBIT - REPUBLICAN SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (MAINE) SEEMS OPEN TO CODIFYING ABORTION PROTECTIONS INTO LAW:

Collins's spokeswoman Annie Clark told NBC's Sahil Kapur: "Senator Collins supports the right to an abortion and believes that the protections in the Roe and Casey decisions should be passed into law. She has had some conversations with her colleagues about this and is open to further discussions." https://nbcnews.to/3I8j4Xf

Eh, but keep in mind: "Even if the Senate finds a majority of votes to codify abortion rights, such a bill would be subject to the 60-vote rule. There aren't 50 Senate votes to weaken the filibuster, nor are there 60 votes to enshrine abortion protections into law."

LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

Scientists are closer to figuring out what causes blood clots in the AstraZeneca vaccine:

Via The Washington Post's Ellen Francis, "Scientists say they have identified clues to what triggered blood clots in rare cases of people who took AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine." https://wapo.st/3poeAD8

The technical details of what scientists have discovered: "In a new study published Wednesday in the Science Advances journal, researchers ... say they have found that a protein in the blood, 'platelet factor 4,' can bind to a key element of the AstraZeneca vaccine, potentially triggering a reaction with antibodies attacking the protein. However, questions remain over whether the binding is a direct cause of the blood clots."

The full story and what this means for the vaccine: https://wapo.st/3poeAD8

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 48,696,690

U.S. death toll: 782,109

Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 462 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 979,814 doses

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

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Bill Nye, the Tik Tok guy:

Bill Nye hits TikTok
Bill Nye hits TikTok

Watch: https://bit.ly/3dbq3jV

I keep seeing this quote passed around on social media:

Beto and all that confidence
Beto and all that confidence

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3daFzMQ

I can only ~sort of~ see Boris Johnson in this:

Boris Johnson with combed hair?
Boris Johnson with combed hair?

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3IdsNeS

ON TAP:

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

The House's full agenda today: Lots of "???" in the vote timing: https://bit.ly/3Db7qXO

9:20 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris left for North Carolina.

10 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President's Daily Brief.

11:20 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured a public transit facility in Charlotte, N.C.

1:15 p.m. EST: President Biden visits the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md.

2:50 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris returns to Washington, D.C.

WHAT TO WATCH:

11 a.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen Psaki held a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/31qkGuA

11:55 a.m. EST: Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivered remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure law. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3det6aU

1:40 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks on the omicron variant and the administration's response. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3DglQGi

5:30 p.m. EST: The first family and the second family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting. President Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speak. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3ofJePE

IN LIGHTER NEWS:

Today is National Fritters Day.

130,000 lb. ice maze?!:

Via Popville, "More on the 130,000-pound clear ice maze coming to CityCenterDC." Details: https://bit.ly/32NxIml

And to brighten your Thursday afternoon, here's a golden retriever who might as well be a mermaid: https://bit.ly/3ltBPL2

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