12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Controversial drug company CEO arrested | McConnell, Reid defend their relationship | Putin backs Trump

NEW THIS A.M. — DRUG COMPANY CEO ARRESTED: Turing Pharmaceutical CEO and founder Martin Shkreli, who drew national scorn for hiking the cost of a life-saving drug 4,000 percent overnight, has been arrested. But wait: His arrest is reportedly not related to the price increase. So, why was he arrested? He’s accused of illegally taking stock from a biotech firm he launched and using it to pay off unrelated debts. http://bit.ly/1lSLutm

{mosads}FUNDING BILL VOTE: Via The Hill’s @ScottWongDC, the House GOP is hoping to vote on the omnibus funding package at 9:15 a.m. Friday and get out of town for holidays. http://bit.ly/22auBLm

FOLLOW-UP FROM CRUZ POTENTIALLY LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFO: Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, the Senate Intelligence Committee will not be investigating what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said about the National Security Agency during Tuesday’s presidential debate. What changed? It’s unclear. Yesterday morning, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters the panel was looking into the comments. Later, the committee released a statement taking that back. http://bit.ly/1k4ulLA

It’s Thursday — and my Uber driver this morning shouted Christmas music the entire ride to the office. So, what else could I do but join in? That’s exactly what I needed to bright up this rainy, dreary day. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed during the morning slog and what’s still coming up today. Send tips, comments, gripes and holiday cookie recipes (The Hill’s holiday bake-off is today!) to cmartel@digital-stage.thehill.com and @CateMartel

LAWMAKERS TO CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS: YOU DID WHAT? Congressional leaders snuck into the government spending bill language to dramatically increase the number of visas available for foreign workers. Rank-and-file lawmakers only discovered it yesterday, sparking outcries. Just how many more visas? Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) estimates foreign worker visas could rise from 66,000 to 250,000. Why this is important: Lawmakers don’t like to be blind-sided. http://bit.ly/1m9Oj97

Tweet from NBC’s Luke Russert: Speaker Ryan tells me re: increase of foreign worker visas in spending bill: “these things kind of happen at the end of the process.”http://bit.ly/1Ibk23W

THE BOXING ISN’T OVER: The House Freedom Caucus tried to add a range of changes to the massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill on the topics of national security, abortion and environmental regulations. Hold on there, tiger: The Rules Committee rejected a slew of the proposed amendments, giving conservative members another reason to vote no tomorrow. http://bit.ly/1QrpQt5

WHAT THOSE FED BREAKING NEWS ALERTS YESTERDAY MEAN: In 2008, when the economy was tanking, the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates (incrementally, but ultimately down to almost zero) to help the economy rebound. They’ve there ever since. So, yesterday: The Fed decided the recovery is strong enough to begin raising rates again, so that’s what it did (but only by a little bit to “test the waters.”) The Hill’s Peter Schroeder has a much more detailed explanation: http://bit.ly/1Je22RE

THE MCCONNELL-REID RELATIONSHIP: Via Politico’s Burgess Everett, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met for a rare face-to-face meeting at the end of November, and it probably couldn’t have gone worse. Reid left the meeting seething over language to help 9/11 responders. Within a day, Reid’s allies screamed from the mountaintops to portray McConnell as using 9/11 responders as “poker chips.” http://politi.co/1OyeZHv

UPDATE: McConnell and Reid are pushing back on the report — big time. The two leaders this morning went to the Senate floor to defend their relationship. Reid said the article “really troubled me.” More here http://bit.ly/1Rr4SdO

THE COVETED (?) PUTIN ENDORSEMENT: Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed Donald Trump for president. “He’s a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt,” Putin said in a statement. “It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race.” In October, Trump said he’d get along with Putin and noted that neither of them likes President Obama. http://bzfd.it/1mpvoHR 

A RACE I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH: The Florida man who pleaded guilty to landing a gyrocopter on the lawn outside of the U.S. Capitol as a political protest wants to run for Congress! Who’s he running against? He said he would challenge a Democrat who is the “poster child for establishment politics” and is moving to South Florida to be in his or her district. Use your reasoning skills: The most prominent House Democrat in South Florida is … ding, ding … Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. http://fxn.ws/1T3y1t4

POLITICAL SIGNS IN N.H.: Here’s an interesting tidbit from my mom, who lives in Bedford, N.H., which is the center of the N.H. primary action: “Driving around Bedford this morning I realized there aren’t the usual political sign farms in NH. In fact there are virtually no signs. I only saw one for Carson and one for Bernie. Seems like they should be all over the place by now.”

LEE GETS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 2016 CANDIDATES: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) called into Boston Herald Radio (a popular radio station for New Hampshire voters) and attacked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for being critical of Sen. Ted Cruz‘s (R-Texas) support for ending the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data. “He’s been … suggesting that this has somehow made America less safe,” Lee said. “He’s just dead wrong.” Note: Lee hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate yet. http://bzfd.it/1Jeav78

TRUMP, KIMMEL WALTZ: During Donald Trump‘s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Jimmy Kimmel called Trump’s proposed Muslim ban un-American. Trump then said some of his Muslim friends called him to support his idea. “Those may have been crank calls,” Kimmel said. http://ti.me/1OyrSkU

A NOTE REGARDING NEW HAMPSHIRE POLITICS: I know this is nerdy, but I wanted to let everyone know that I just received my certificate from the University of New Hampshire for a class I took on the New Hampshire presidential primary! State politics experts Dante Scala and Andy Smith taught the class  — you probably recognize them from being quoted all the time in articles on the primary. They really know their stuff.



Hillary Clinton’s Twitter account (tweets from the former first lady are usually signed -H)
Are Republicans stealing policy ideas from “The Princess Bride”? http://bit.ly/1mpNfOV 

Politico’s Blake Hounshell
Putin, being a classy guy today: “The Turks decided to lick the Americans in a certain place.” http://bit.ly/1YkBaLS

The New York Post’s John Podhoretz
I need polling on the debate so I can denounce it. http://bit.ly/1OybKA2

The Hill’s Jordan Fabian (The photo says it all. Jordan is referencing a list of all the NFL logos turned Trump)
2015 in a nutshell http://bit.ly/1P942Pw



The Senate is in session, but no votes are scheduled.

10:15 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST: The House votes including on the first component of the omnibus. 

12:15 p.m. ESTPresident Obama delivers a statement from the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va. Vice President Biden will also attend.

3:30 p.m. EST: Retail workers are protesting Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C., on the corporation’s wage policies.

9 p.m. EST: Marco Rubio‘s team has an early showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for young professionals. Info: http://on.fb.me/1m8Kukv 

Know of any upcoming events that you think should be included? Email me!



9:30 p.m. EST: Barbara Walters has a 90-minute special on her list of most fascinating people of the year. Amy SchumerTracy Morgan and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) all made the list. http://apne.ws/1maho47


Now for the fun stuff …

Today is National Maple Syrup Day!

THROWBACK THURSDAY: In honor of the last presidential debates of 2015 this week, I’d like to take a moment to recognize my favorite political debate of all time: The Vermont gubernatorial debate of 2014. Please, please watch this highlight reel. http://bit.ly/1ju63KC 

Also FYI, if you check out my Twitter cover photo, I (sort of) participated in that debate. 😉 

THE FORCE AWAKENS TONIGHT: The new Star Wars movie will be released at midnight, and everyone is freaking out: Star Wars-themed oranges (?), Star Wars-themed potatoes (?), Star Wars-themed Wookiee Crocs (I’ll be nice and keep my mouth shut on this one.) http://bit.ly/1Ynm82E

PHOTOS TO MAKE YOU HUNGRY: The Washington Post has a list of the best food under $20 in D.C. Now, please excuse me while I go bookmark this page. http://wapo.st/1JebQe8

And with that, here’s a hilarious video of babies who really need to learn to multitask when they sneeze. It’s hard. We get it. http://on.fb.me/1NUav1J


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Tags Donald Trump Harry Reid Hillary Clinton Jeff Sessions Marco Rubio Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Richard Burr Ted Cruz

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