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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump budget boosts defense spending by $54B | Why March is a crucial month for the GOP | Epic Oscars mistake | Inside Trump's first dinner out in DC | Spicer's leak crackdown | Tom Brady's skiing fail
BREAKING -- THE BIGGEST, THE BEST, THE MOST AMAZING MILITARY BUDGET YOU'VE EVER SEEN -- YUUUUGE: The Trump administration is proposing a budget it says will increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense spending by the same amount. Details: "Most federal agencies will see a reduction as a result," according to an Office of Management and Budget official, with cuts falling most heavily on "lower priority" programs as well as foreign aid. When asked where the extra $54 billion will be spent, the official said "predominantly it will go to the Pentagon" but declined to name specific offices. http://bit.ly/2lO8eMa
EXPECT A SURPRISE ON INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING: President Trump hinted that he will be making a "big" announcement on infrastructure during his joint address to Congress on Tuesday. http://bit.ly/2lOuvcW
DEMS REACT: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerMcConnell: ObamaCare 'status quo' will stay in place moving forward NRA launches M Supreme Court ad Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday blasted President Trump's coming budget plan, saying that it will benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. http://bit.ly/2l568ul
Happy Monday. I've been on a big "Planet Earth" kick -- watch it immediately if you haven't -- so just a heads up to expect more of those references and videos in here. ;) 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@example.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.
THE NEXT 6 WEEKS ARE CRUCIAL FOR THE GOP -- WELCOME, MARCH MADNESS: Via The Hill's Bob Cusack and Ian Swanson, "March is shaping up to be the most important month for the Republican Party in more than a decade. ... The wish list begins with passing a budget, reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing ObamaCare. All three issues are divisive, making the next six weeks key." Why this time frame is key: "The House will be in session for five of them, while the Senate is scheduled only to take a short two-day break in March." What we'll know by April: "By the end of that intense run, it will be clear that the Trump agenda is moving along swiftly -- or stuck in its tracks." http://bit.ly/2lXtb9F
MUST WATCH: Actual footage of Republicans walking into the Capitol gearing up for their epic month ;) --> http://bit.ly/2l3qXGy
THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS -- HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, this week will feature a scene few on Capitol Hill for last year's State of the Union could imagine: President Trump delivering an address to a joint session of Congress. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the theme of Trump's address will be "renewal of the American spirit." Trump is expected to discuss border security and defense, along with economic agenda items like tax reform and overhauling the healthcare system. What else is going on in Congress this week: The GOP plans to bury a resolution that demands a probe of Trump conflicts of interest. Senators will also vote on Trump's nominees, including Wilbur Ross for Commerce secretary and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for Interior secretary. Full rundown: http://bit.ly/2l3rjNt
SPOTTED -- NIGHT ON THE TOWN: President Trump on Saturday had his first dinner out in Washington since taking office. Where: Trump's motorcade arrived at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue for dinner at BLT Steakhouse. Photos: http://bit.ly/2l17qGK
FASCINATING READ: IJ Review's Benny Johnson sat a few tables over and chronicled the night from the restaurant's preparations to Trump's dinner. From a waiter: "The President ordered a well-done steak. An aged New York strip. He ate it with catsup as he always does. The sides and appetizers on the table were shared. Three jumbo shrimp cocktails were delivered before the meal. At one point, the President looked at his watch and remarked, 'They are filming "Saturday Night Live" right now. Can't wait to see what they are gonna do to me this week.' It was hard to serve him because he is so funny and relaxed, it makes you laugh." http://bit.ly/2lKe8zL
A LEAK ABOUT THE LEAK THAT WAS LEAKED FROM THE LEAKER: Via Politico's Annie Karni and Alex Isenstadt, "Press secretary Sean Spicer is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures that include random phone checks of White House staffers, overseen by White House attorneys." How they are doing it: "Upon entering Spicer's office for what one person briefed on the gathering described as 'an emergency meeting,' staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a 'phone check,' to prove they had nothing to hide." http://politi.co/2mvXbae
OH HEY, BUSH 43!: Former President George W. Bush this morning said the media is an essential component to democracy, arguing it is necessary to hold the government accountable. "I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. ... Power can be very addictive," he told NBC's "Today." http://bit.ly/2lMu8RP
TALK OF THE MORNING -- BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES RELIVING PAINFULLY AWKWARD MOMENTS...: "Moonlight" won the Academy Award for Best Picture after a mishap with the envelope at the Oscars last night. Here's the clip if you missed it -- or want to watch the cringe-worthy moment again: http://bit.ly/2lgd7Mi
Photo of the crowd as the mix-up happened: http://bit.ly/2lg1Pra
Now This Is News's Colleen Hagerty
A full bottle of wine just rolled out from under a subway seat and now these 2 strangers popped it open & are drinking it. This is peak NYC http://bit.ly/2le1C86
So far today I've counted bomb threats against Jewish centers in AL, DE, FL, IN, MI, NJ, NY, NC, PA and RI http://bit.ly/2mwbnAl
Today: The J Street 2017 conference. Live stream: http://bit.ly/2loO1M4
Noon: The House and Senate meet.
12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence have lunch with United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Trump: 'No doubt' we'll make a deal on healthcare Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown GOP torn over what to do next MORE (R-Ky.)
3:15 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
6 p.m. EST: President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski speaks at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. http://bit.ly/2l1c1IP
6:30 p.m. EST: The House votes on a series of suspension bills.
7 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on the confirmation of Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary. The Senate will then vote to advance Rep. Ryan Zinke's (R-Mont.) nomination for Interior secretary.
WHAT TO WATCH:
1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing.
2 p.m. EST: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) give a "prebuttal" to President Trump's address to Congress. Live stream: http://cs.pn/2lM0Ja6
10 p.m. EST: Fox News's Sean Hannity sits down with former President George W. Bush.
9 p.m. EST Tuesday: President Trump addresses Congress. Preview: http://n.pr/2loJclL
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Strawberry Day and National Kahlua Day!
PATRIOTS FANS AND PATRIOTS HATERS CAN FINALLY UNITE: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted a video of himself skiing over a mound of snow and crashing. It's pretty funny: http://bit.ly/2lXM1NY
PI DAY IS COMING UP: Via DCist's Rachel Kurzius, Washington, D.C.'s &Pizza is once again offering free weddings on Pi Day -- March 14. More than 50 couples have already signed up: http://bit.ly/2mvrfmB
And because we need good vibes on a Monday, here's the cutest animal, just born at the National Zoo: a prehensile-tailed porcupine. The National Zoo even tweeted: "Not to be confused with a caterpillar with a marshmallow on its nose..." http://bit.ly/2mC9FMS
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