The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Pelosi creates international standoff with Taiwan arrival

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.

NEWS THIS MORNING 

Ready or not, here she comes:

It’s official. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has landed in Taipei, Taiwan, despite many warnings from the Biden administration, creating a tense situation with China.

Who is with Pelosi?: Via CNN, “Pelosi is traveling with House Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks of New York, Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano of California and Reps. Suzan DelBene of Washington state, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Andy Kim of New Jersey.”  

SOME CONTEXT

CNN’s Melanie Zanona tweeted: “Big moment for Pelosi, who has earned a reputation as a fierce China hawk throughout her long career and could now be in her final term in Congress. She’s the first House Speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years.” 

Photo of the plane landing in Taipei: Via Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman 

Photo of Pelosi walking off the plane: It’s pretty dark, but you can make out Speaker Pelosi in the photo. (Via NBC News’ Frank Thorp V

Pelosi’s office released a statement: “Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan — and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy.” Read the statement 

Interesting read — ‘Why Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan Is Utterly Reckless’:

The New York Times opinion columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan is “utterly reckless, dangerous and irresponsible.”

Friedman’s reasoning — Biden has done a lot to keep China at bay: “To help create the greatest possibility of Ukraine reversing Putin’s invasion, Biden and his national security adviser Jake Sullivan held a series of very tough meetings with China’s leadership, imploring Beijing not to enter the Ukraine conflict by providing military assistance to Russia.” 

^ And that seems to have worked: “By all indications, U.S. officials tell me, China has responded by not providing military aid to Putin.”  

^ Which makes Pelosi’s timing touchy: “Given all of that, why in the world would the speaker of the House choose to visit Taiwan and deliberately provoke China now?”  

Read the full column 

IT’S TUESDAY. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

🤫 In Congress 

Sitting in awkward silence:

“Senate Democrats are growing more anxious over maverick Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) five-day silence on a sweeping proposal to reform the tax code, tackle climate change and reduce the federal deficit.”  

What Democrats are privately worried about: “[T]hat Sinema’s not happy about being left out of the negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), which resulted in a surprise announcement last week of a major deal.” 

Manchin has been trying to reach Sinema to chat: “Manchin said he planned to speak to Sinema about the deal at Monday evening’s vote on a judicial nominee. He later told reporters that he had left a message for her but had ‘not yet’ heard back. ‘I’ve called, left a message for her, I might see her on the floor,’ he said. But Sinema only ducked into the chamber for a few seconds to cast her vote and then abruptly left, leaving colleagues no time to lobby her. She left the Capitol without speaking to reporters.” 

Keep in mind: Sinema may very well be opposed to closing the carried interest loophole.  

What we know about Sinema’s next moves, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Amie Parnes 

BTW — 126 TOP ECONOMISTS SAY THIS RECONCILIATION BILL WOULD LOWER PRICES FOR ALL AMERICANS:  

A group of 126 top economists is backing Democrats’ reconciliation bill — dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act — because they argue it would lower consumer prices. 

Read the letter obtained by CNN 

To name a few of the economists: “Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Obama Labor Department chief economist Betsey Stevenson, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf, and Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.” 

More from CNN’s Betsy Klein

🗳 On the campaign trail 

Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Washington are holding their 2022 midterm primaries today. 

Today is a big test for abortion rights

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade’s federal abortion protections, it left the decision of abortion rights for each state to decide. 

And now today: Kansas will become the first state to allow its residents to decide whether to ban abortion. Kansas voters will decide today whether to amend the state’s constitution to remove abortion rights. 

Outside of affecting Kansans, this is a watershed moment: Other states will be watching and would potentially tee up similar votes. “The vote could also provide the clearest signal yet of how the Supreme Court’s revolutionary abortion decision is landing with the public.”  

The Hill’s John Kruzel explains the significance and impact of today’s election in Kansas

ARIZONA’S PRIMARY WILL TELL US A LOT ABOUT THE GOP DIVIDE:  

Between establishment Republicans focusing on kitchen table issues and loyalist of former President Trump who are pushing the false narrative of a stolen 2020 presidential election. Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester 

A STORYLINE TO WATCH — ‘WILL 3 PRO-IMPEACHMENT HOUSE REPUBLICANS SURVIVE TUESDAY’S PRIMARIES?’:
Breakdown of those races,from FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley andNathaniel Rakich 

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN TODAY’S PRIMARIES
The list

💪 In the White House 

Osama bin Laden’s successor has been killed

President Biden announced on Monday evening that the U.S. has killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone attack. 

Keep in mind: Zawahiri helped plan the September 11, 2001, attacks. 

Biden said from his balcony, where he is isolating due to his positive COVID-19 test: “He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats and American interests … Now, justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more.”  

‘WHAT AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI’S KILLING MEANS FOR AL-QAEDA’
The Washington Post’s Rachel Pannett explains

🦠 Latest with COVID 

 THE COVID-19 NUMBERS 

Cases to date: 91.1 million 

Death toll: 1,025,363 

Current hospitalizations: 21,178 

Shots administered: 603 million 

Fully vaccinated: 67.2 percent of Americans 

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

Oh wow, this pepper has seen some things

@Tracey_Ann_C tweeted a photo of an unusual bell pepper, “We’ve all been there, little pepper, all been there.” Photo of the pepper 

Spotted at the Citi Open in DC

Tennis star Serena Williams watched her sister, Venus Williams, compete at the Citi Open tennis tournament. Photo of Serena watching her sister play 

How the match went: Venus Williams lost to unseeded Canadian Rebecca Marino.

On tap 

The Senate is in. The House is out. President Biden is isolating at the White House. Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C., with no public events scheduled. 

  • 10:15 a.m.: Biden received the President’s Daily Briefing. 
  • 12:30 p.m.: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons. Today’s Senate agenda 
  • 2:15 p.m.: The Senate votes on a judicial nomination. 

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch 

  • 2:45 p.m.: Biden virtual joins an event in Michigan to mark the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. Livestream 
  • 3:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing. Livestream

🍦 In lighter news 

Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

And to brighten your Tuesday afternoon, here’s a reminder of why puppies *have* to be cute