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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. 


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: FDA meets to discuss Moderna vaccine | Pharmacists find extra Pfizer doses in vials | FDA allows extra to be used | Lawmakers hit last-minute snags in COVID-19 relief, government funding deal | Rare weekend session possible | French president gets COVID-19 | Several world leaders quarantine after meeting with Macron | W.V. superintendent gives snow day from virtual learning | Letter goes viral



Moderna, you’re up at the plate. There are two ducks on the pond.:



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting today to discuss Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

Keep tabs on what’s happening: The Washington Post is posting live updates:


It started at 9 a.m. EST and will wrap up around 6 p.m. Here’s the livestream:


Via CNBC, here’s what to watch today. For example — what happens next?: “The FDA will make a decision on whether to clear Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use. In Pfizer’s case, the final decision from the agency came a day after the meeting.”

Via CNBC, here’s a draft of today’s agenda: 

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 [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook. 

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To sum up your social media feeds this morning:





Time’s a ticking:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Negotiations over a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill are running into eleventh-hour snags, threatening to push Congress into a rare weekend session.”

It looks like they are close: “Lawmakers had hoped to clinch a sweeping deal … on Wednesday after the top four congressional leaders signaled that they were closing in on an agreement after months of stalemate.”

Yes, but…: “Lawmakers and staff [have] warned that — while they still thought they would get the agreement — the final stages of the talks are moving slowly as they continue to haggle over the details and field requests for changes.”

It’s Mitch’s party and he’ll cry if he wants to:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Scott Wong, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is getting much of what he wants in an emerging coronavirus relief package, after months of digging in his heels against a demand by Democratic leaders to pass a multitrillion-dollar package that would shore up the ailing finances of state and local governments.” 

The one big thing McConnell isn’t getting in the deal: Liability protection for businesses. Yes, but: McConnell even suggested dropping that item last week.


And for a limited time, get an extra dose FREE with your order!:

Via Politico’s Sarah Owermohle, Pharmacists have been finding extra doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the vials — and the Food and Drug Administration now says the extra doses can be used. 

Why this announcement is huge: It could potentially increase the U.S.’s available vaccine doses by 40 percent (!)

Why there are extra doses in a vial?: Each vial holds five doses, but manufacturers add a little extra to account for any spills. Typically, it’s only a little bit extra but some pharmacists have been finding six or seven full doses. 

Can the extra vaccines be combined?: No! “Both Pfizer and FDA said that leftover vaccine from multiple vials should not be mixed, because of the contamination risk.”  

Has there been an official announcement yet?: “The federal government has not publicly announced the guidance; Pfizer learned of the change this afternoon.” 

Everything we know about the extra doses:

Another world leader has COVID-19:

French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench court finds all 14 defendants tied to Charlie Hebdo attackers guilty The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Moderna vaccine nears US approval; Congress cites ‘progress’ toward relief bill European (Dis)Union: The gathering storm MORE, 42, has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Macron met with other world leaders a few days ago: “Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and European Council President Charles Michel said they would go into quarantine as a precautionary measure.”


“Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt, 51, tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, the department spokesman confirmed after an inquiry from The Washington Post.”


The U.S. hit a new record yesterday for daily coronavirus deaths, with 3,656 Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19 on Wednesday.


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 17,000,408 

U.S. death toll: 307,770 

Breakdown of the numbers:



This tweet has more than half a million likes since yesterday and I completely understand why. 




Amazing. Thank you for that update, Diane:





The House and Senate are in. President TrumpDonald TrumpInterior secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after two days of meetings with officials: report South Carolina Republican tests positive for coronavirus hours after speaking on House floor Trump to name Giuliani’s son to role on Holocaust Memorial Council MORE is at the White House. Vice President Pence is in Georgia today. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are in Wilmington, Del. 

Today: President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris receive the President’s Daily Brief and then meet with transition advisers.

9:55 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence left for Georgia.

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpChris Christie posts video to people refusing to wear a mask: ‘Learn from my experience’ Fake accounts posing as GOP leaders on Parler are selling Trump hats and CBD oil: report The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Congressional leaders close to a COVID-19 relief deal MORE participate in a closed press signing ceremony to create a women’s suffrage monument in Washington, D.C. 

4 ­– 5 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today: 

5:05 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence returns to Washington, D.C.


Noon: Vice President Pence speaks at a “Defend the Majority” rally in Columbus, Ga. Livestream: 

1 p.m. EST: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Meet the New Members.” Details and how to watch:

2:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at another “Defend the Majority” rally in Macon. Livestream:


Today is National Maple Syrup Day. That’s well-timed because “we elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.” 



Try reading this letter without smiling. Just try.:

Via The Washington Post’s Andrew Salcedo, A West Virginia superintendent canceled classes yesterday and gave students a snow day from virtual learning. The letter has since gone viral.

Excerpt: “So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires. Take pictures of your kids in the snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read the books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven’t had the time. We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow … go build a snowman.”  

Read the full letter:

And because you made it to the end, here’s baby polar bear trying to hitch a ride:

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