GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO HAVE SESSION DAY NEXT WEEK: Indiana's public health emergency may be one step closer to coming to an end. The Indiana General Assembly will reconvene for a one-day session the Monday after Thanksgiving, Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) announced Saturday (Lange, IndyStar). The announcement comes days after Holcomb shared his vision for ending the public health emergency. Lawmakers must make three "key" statutory changes to protect Indiana residents — even if no public health emergency exists — Holcomb said in a statement Tuesday. Those three changes include allowing for enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures to continue; continuing enhanced benefits for Medicaid spending; and allowing for the vaccination of children ages 5 to 11. The General Assembly typically doesn't return to the statehouse to consider legislation until January, but this unprecedented session could end the public health emergency that has been in place since March 2020. Some politicians have seen it as a symbol of government overreach, and Bray and Huston assert that, overtime, the executive orders have addressed "fewer and fewer issues." "Indiana is successfully moving beyond the pandemic," Huston said in a statement Saturday. "There are only a few key components of the executive order that remain in place, including measures that help vulnerable Hoosiers."

 

'LET'S GO BRANDON' ON TANK HAS INDIANA GUARD SEEKING VANDAL: The Indiana National Guard is looking for whoever vandalized a tank with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” at the National Guard Armory in New Albany. The phrase is used as a censored version of an anti-Joe Biden chant (WAVE-TV). People in the community said what’s also visible is the disrespect the vandalism shows to the men and women who’ve fought for the country and for freedom of speech. ”A disgrace is exactly what it is,” Vietnam Navy Veteran John Prow said. ”I took an oath in 1964 to protect the United States Constitution,” Prow said. ”It’s very much a disrespect to the United States. We went out there to fight our asses off for everybody and to make sure our liberties are still upheld and the constitution of the United States.” Indiana National Guard Master Sergeant Jeff Lowry sent a statement on the vandalism, saying in part:“Indiana National Guardsmen take an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. As such we support the people’s right to free speech, yet not to vandalize property. Since the vandalism at our New Albany Armory is under a civil investigation, we cannot comment further on this matter.”

 

BUTTIGIEG DOWNPLAYS HARRIS RIVALRY: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday shot down suggestions of a rivalry between him and Vice President Kamala Harris, insisting that they are too busy focusing on the administration's goals to feud with each other. NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd noted to Buttigieg that whenever Harris' political standing is written about in the media, a narrative of a supposed feud between her and himself is prompted. Todd asked Buttigeg whether this has affected his relationship with the vice president. "No, because she and I are part of a team that is disciplined and doesn't focus on what's obsessing the commentators. We're too busy with a job to do," Buttigieg said, adding that all members of the administration are "laser focused on getting the job done that would be demanding in any administration." "There's no room to get caught up in the parlor games, and I'm proud to be part of the Biden-Harris team," said Buttigieg.

 

COVID SURGES PORTEND TO BLEAK WINTER: Coronavirus cases are rising once again, disrupting classrooms, overwhelming hospitals and alarming public health officials — even in areas with high vaccination rates — who warn the country is headed for a holiday surge that could leave thousands dead (Politico). Though nearly 70 percent of the country has had at least one shot and hospitalizations have fallen from their September highs, the news in many states remains grim and the trend lines portend a fresh wave in the coming weeks. Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico hospitals are operating under crisis standards of care. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin hospitals are at, or near, the brink as cases that had been steadily increasing since school began exploded once the weather turned cold. “This is taking up every waking moment,” Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for the Michigan health department told POLITICO. “No part of the state has been spared.”

 

BOOSTERS NOW AVAILABLE FOR ALL HOOSIERS: The Indiana Department of Health has announced boosters are available for all Hoosiers 18 and older – regardless of occupation, age or underlying health condition. The announcement follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Friday (Chapman, WVPE).  Any fully vaccinated Hoosiers 18 and older can go to Our.Shot.IN.gov to register for a booster shot, as long as they are six months from their last dose of Pfizer or Moderna. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster shot two months after their initial dose, according to the CDC’s recommendations.

 

VAX RATE PICKS UP FOR YOUNG HOOSIERS: After a little more than two weeks of vaccinating Hoosier kids against COVID-19, about one in 14 has now gotten the first dose (WIBC). In the last four days, the Indiana Department of Health has reported 34,000 new vaccinations of kids age five to 11. That’s four times those reported in the first 12 days after the vaccine was approved for that age group. Monroe County Health Department administrator Penny Caudill says nearly 300 kids got their shots Thursday night at a vaccine clinic in Bloomington. The department plans to hold vaccine clinics during the school day at schools which invite them. Caudill says one school has already turned in 100 consent forms.

 

IU OFFICIALS DISCUSSING MASKING AT ASSEMBLY HALL: Indiana University officials say they’re discussing how to increase masking at IU basketball games (Indiana Public Media). During Thursday evening’s meeting of the Monroe County Board of Health, members discussed their concern with lack of compliance with the county’s mask mandate. The issue came up during the weekly COVID news conference among city, county and IU officials. “We’re evaluating what we can do to increase it,” Dr. Aaron Carroll, IU’s chief health officer, said Friday. “We're working as best we can with everyone.” Kirk White, who heads IU’s COVID Response Unit, said there is signage at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall asking people to mask up. They’ve asked event staff to go through the aisles and ask people to put their masks back on, but it hasn’t been particularly successful.

 

GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES BEGINNING TO EASE: Global supply-chain woes are beginning to recede, but shipping, manufacturing and retail executives say that they don’t expect a return to more-normal operations until next year and that cargo will continue to be delayed if Covid-19 outbreaks disrupt key distribution hubs (Wall Street Journal). In Asia, Covid-related factory closures, energy shortages and port-capacity limits have eased in recent weeks. In the U.S., major retailers say they have imported most of what they need for the holidays. Ocean freight rates have retreated from record levels. Still, executives and economists say strong consumer demand for goods in the West, ongoing port congestion in the U.S., shortages of truck drivers and elevated global freight rates continue to hang over any recovery. The risk of more extreme weather and flare-ups of Covid-19 cases can also threaten to clog up supply chains again.

 

APPLE'S DRIVERLESS CAR BY 2025: Apple is fast-tracking an electric car that's being refocused "around full self-driving capabilities, ... aiming to solve a technical challenge that has bedeviled the auto industry," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports: Apple's ideal car would have no steering wheel and pedals. In one option being considered "passengers sit along the sides of the vehicle and face each other like they would in a limousine. Here's an Apple touch: The car's infotainment system — likely a big, iPad-like touch screen — could be "in the middle of the vehicle, letting users interact with it throughout a ride," Bloomberg adds.

 

RUSSIA POISED FOR UKRAINE INVASION: The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations (Bloomberg). That intelligence has been conveyed to some NATO members over the past week to back up U.S. concerns about Putin’s possible intentions and an increasingly frantic diplomatic effort to deter him from any incursion, with European leaders engaging directly with the Russian president. The diplomacy is informed by an American assessment that Putin could be weighing an invasion early next year as his troops again mass near the border. The information lays out a scenario where troops would cross into Ukraine from Crimea, the Russian border and via Belarus, with about 100 battalion tactical groups -- potentially around 100,000 soldiers -- deployed for what the people described as an operation in rough terrain and freezing conditions, covering extensive territory and prepared for a potentially prolonged occupation.

 

BIDEN PARDONS PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY: “I'm honored to welcome you to a Thanksgiving tradition at the White House that reminds us to have a little fun and always be grateful,” Biden said. "Today we're going to talk turkey. Yes, instead of getting basted, these turkeys are getting boosted." - President Biden, pardoning Hoosier turkeys Peanut Butter & Jelly Friday at the White House (Howey Politics Indiana). The event marked the 74th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. Peanut Butter was officially named National Thanksgiving Turkey on Thursday. Jelly was named alternate. The two turkeys will spend the rest of their lives at Purdue University. The president joked that the birds were selected from a flock of 20 based on their "temperament, appearance and, I suspect, vaccination status.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: I grew up on a diet of great Chicago Bear runningbacks (Gale Sayers, Walter Payton). The Colts Jonathan Taylor is made out of the same cloth. Enjoy this great runner. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

DEERY TO SEEK SD23: Indiana’s 23rd Senate District will elect a new senator next year, and today, Spencer Deery, a veteran Purdue administrator and presidential aide announced he is seeking the seat’s Republican nomination (Howey Politics Indiana). Deery has worked at Purdue University since 2011, serving currently as Deputy Chief of Staff and as a communications and public policy advisor to former Indiana governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels. Counting the interim leadership of Tim Sands, Deery has overlapped with three presidents of the university, but nearly all of his time at Purdue has been with Daniels who has served as president since 2013. “Working for a university president is like working for a CEO, a superintendent and a mayor, all at the same time,” Deery said. “I have never pursued political office before, but I am in the unique situation of having had a career that prepared me to be an effective legislator and advocate for the district.”

 

INDEMS SEIZE MARIJUANA REFORM ISSUE: The Indiana Democratic Party is throwing its weight behind marijuana legalization ahead of the 2022 state legislative session (Indiana Public Media). Individual Hoosier Democrats have long supported marijuana legalization in some form. But Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl said making the issue a signature for the full party came out of conversations party leaders have had with Hoosiers during statewide tours over the last several months. "It doesn’t see urban or rural divide because it can help folks who live in either community," Schmuhl said. "It doesn’t really favor young or old because people who are young or old see benefits." Schmuhl said he also thinks advocating for marijuana legalization can help bring people into the political process. "Perhaps folks who aren’t super engaged in politics or create a new type of single issue voter," Schmuhl said. Republican Statehouse leaders have already nixed the idea of marijuana legalization in the near future.

 

INDEMS FOLLOW McDERMOTT ON MARIJUANA REFORM: The Indiana Democratic Party is following the lead of Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and advocating for the legalization of marijuana in the Hoosier State (Carden, NWI Times). In a policy statement issued last week, Hoosier Democrats called on the 2022 Indiana General Assembly to eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use, and to establish a regulatory framework allowing marijuana to be grown on Indiana farms and sold at Indiana retailers. "The Republican supermajority at the Statehouse is losing its economic common sense if they do not join Democrats this session in making this opportunity a winner for the Hoosier State," said Mike Schmuhl, Indiana Democratic chairman. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. acknowledged Friday he smoked marijuana at two recent Grateful Dead concerts in Chicago and pledged he will work to legalize marijuana nationwide if he's elected next year to the U.S. Senate. McDermott, a candidate for Indiana's 2022 Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, revealed on the Nov. 5 episode of his "Left of Center" podcast that he used marijuana at the Sept. 17 and 18 Dead & Company performances at Wrigley Field in Chicago. "Yeah, I went to a Grateful Dead show at Wrigley Field and I smoked weed," McDermott said. "Indiana is woefully behind on this. If I'm elected Indiana's U.S. senator, I'm a vote to decriminalize, I'm a vote to legalize marijuana — and I will."

 

GOP TARGETING MRVAN: Indiana Republicans have all but written off Indiana's 1st Congressional District for decades, but in a surprising turn, the Democrat bastion in northwest Indiana could be one of the most competitive House races in Indiana in 2022 (Lange, IndyStar). The district is the only Indiana one listed as competitive by the non-partisan Cook Political Report's Congressional ratings in the 2022 election cycle, after Statehouse Republicans redrew Indiana's political boundaries. Likewise, national Republicans have already indicated their intent to target freshman Congressman Frank Mrvan, a Democrat. The 1st is the lone Indiana district on the National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) list of 70 House districts held byDemocrats to target in 2022. Plus, Republican House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik put Jennifer-Ruth Green, one of Mrvan's potential general election challengers, on her PAC's list of 11 women to watch.

 

PENCE HEADING BACK TO NH: Former Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly travel in December to New Hampshire, the state that typically holds the first primary election in the country during the presidential race (New York Post). Pence will headline a fundraiser for New Hampshire Senate Republicans on Dec. 8 in Manchester, Fox News reported on Sunday.  He’s also expected to appear at another event in the state — his second trip to the Granite State this year.

 

ROKITA EXPANDS PARENTS BILL OF RIGHTS: Attorney General Todd Rokita today issued an expanded version of his office’s Parents’ Bill of Rights that contains, among other new information, a fresh section on parents’ rights involving medical decisions for their children (Howey Politics Indiana). Labeled Parents’ Bill of Rights 2.0, it includes new information on: How to file a civil rights claim if your student is being discriminated against; How to better engage school boards and get documents; How to become aware of your students’ medical rights; How to run for school boards; and How to opt out of your student’s curriculum. “Hoosier parents statewide are embracing their God-given roles as primary providers of their children’s education and upbringing,” Attorney General Rokita said. “So many dedicated moms and dads responded with such appreciation to our Parents’ Bill of Rights when we first released it in June, and they raised many new questions and concerns that we are honored to help address in this Parents’ Bill of Rights 2.0.”

 

Polls

 

MORNING CONSULT ON BIDEN AGENDA: The POLITICO-Morning Consult poll offers fresh data about why that is. While the fiercest inflation hawks, such as Larry Summers, don’t see much of an inflationary impact from the reconciliation bill, which is loaded with long-term spending, a plurality of the public disagrees: 43% of voters think the climate and social spending package will make inflation worse. 15% of voters think it will have no impact on inflation. 26% of voters think it will make inflation better.  Some decent polling news for Biden: 49% of voters support the reconciliation bill and 38% oppose it. Thirteen percent of voters don’t know or have no opinion.

 

Congress

 

THE SENATE and THE HOUSE are out.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: RENOVATIONS FOR GOV'S OFFICE - The Indiana governor’s office suite inside the Statehouse is in the middle of a facelift (AP). Work being done includes removing decades-old carpet and asbestos flooring underneath it in the main lobby and two adjacent office spaces, said Erin Murphy, the press secretary for Gov. Eric Holcomb. Crews will try to restore the original wood flooring rather than carpeting those areas again. Plans are for those spaces to be repainted and eventually have new furniture. Painting and plaster repair is being done in the office area used by Holcomb. Murphy didn’t have estimates for the project’s cost or when the work would be completed. Murphy said private donations were paying for the renovations but hasn’t yet provided information on contributors or to which entity that money was being given.

 

NLF: TAYLOR RUNS FOR 5 TDs IN COLT 41-15 ROUT - Coach Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts discovered an easy fix to their problems holding fourth-quarter leads: Keep feeding Jonathan Taylor the ball (ESPN). The second-year running back set a franchise record by scoring five times, and took over the NFL lead in both yards rushing and touchdowns, in a 41-15 rout of the unraveling Buffalo Bills on Sunday. "When J.T. turns on the jets, he's gone," tight end Mo Alie-Cox said of Taylor, who scored on runs of 1, 2, 3 and 10 yards and a 23-yard reception. "Like the one play at the goal line, I'm blocking and I just turn my head and I just see him flying through the air like a superhero." All that was missing was a cape for Taylor, who scored three times in the first half as Indy built a 24-7 lead and finished with a season-best 185 yards rushing. The Colts (6-5) have won five of six to get back into the AFC playoff race. Taylor helped ease the concerns of a team that had squandered three fourth-quarter leads this season. "It meant a lot. I mean, that's something that we're going to have to do if we want to get to where we want to go at the end of the year," Taylor said. "We're going to have to be able to put games away in the fourth quarter, we're going to have to put points up."

 

BIG TEN: IU STEAM ROLLS LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE 76-44 - Parker Stewart scored 16 points and Indiana overwhelmed Louisiana-Lafayette in the first half en route to a 76-44 victory on Sunday night (AP). Stewart made 4 of 5 3-pointers. Freshman Tamar Bates scored 10 points off the bench for the Hoosiers (4-0). Indiana’s preseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averages 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, played 19 minutes and had 11 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Brown led Louisiana (3-1) with 10 points and Theo Akwuba added nine points and 10 rebounds.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SEES 'BREAKTHROUGHS' - Don’t call it a comeback. Seriously, don’t. But for the White House, the breakthroughs they had last week represent major progress. And after the few months they’ve had, they’ll take it (Politico). In the span of four days, the president signed his bipartisan infrastructure bill into law and saw the second piece of his landmark economic package pass through the House. The Food and Drug Administration authorized Covid-19 booster shots for all adults, and the administration announced a new purchase of 10 million treatment courses of the Pfizer antiviral Covid-19 pill. All this, while government reports show strong gains in the number of jobs across the labor market.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN/HARRIS SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 10 a.m.: The president and VP will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 4 p.m.: The Bidens will leave the White House for Fort Bragg, N.C., arriving at 5:25 p.m. — 6 p.m.: The Bidens will have a friendsgiving with service members and military families as part of the Joining Forces initiative. — 7:40 p.m.: The Bidens will depart Fort Bragg, arriving back at the White House at 9 p.m. The president will deliver remarks about the economy and lowering prices Tuesday. Then he, first lady Jill Biden, Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff  will take part in a service project in D.C. And the Bidens will close out Tuesday by heading to Nantucket for the holiday. VP Harris: The VP will also deliver remarks about equity and the health care workforce at an event at 3:30 p.m. with Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY and LUIS PADILLA. The White House Covid-19 response team and public health officials will brief (time TBA). Press secretary Jen Psaki will gaggle aboard Air Force One on the way to Fort Bragg.

 

MEDIA: RITTENHOUSE ON CARLSON TONIGHT - Fresh off his acquittal on all counts, Kyle Rittenhouse will have an interview with Carlson airing on Fox News tonight at 8 p.m. In a clip released in advance, Rittenhouse says that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and peaceful demonstrations, and that he’s not racist. “This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race,” he says. “It had to do with the right to self-defense.”

 

MEDIA: 2 LEAVING FOX NEWS OVER CARLSON 'PATRIOT PURGE' - Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg announced Sunday they’re leaving Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” series, an attempt to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Their departures, and the series’ capitulation to the outlandish fringe of American politics, mark “the end of a lingering hope among some at Fox News … that the channel would at some point return to a pre-Trump reality that was also often hyperpartisan, but that kept some distance from Republican officials,” writes NYT’s Ben Smith . Carlson called their exits “great news”; a Fox spokesperson sent him data showing that independents watch the network. According to five people with direct knowledge, the resignations reflect larger tumult within Fox News over Carlson’s series ‘Patriot Purge’ and his increasingly strident stances, and over the network’s willingness to let its opinion stars make false, paranoid claims against President Biden, his administration and his supporters (NPR).

 

WISCONSIN: 5 KILLED AS CAR PLOWS INTO PARADE - A red SUV plowed through police barricades and into a Waukesha, Wis., Christmas parade Sunday afternoon, killing five people and injuring more than 40, including children, the city said (Wall Street Journal). Police have recovered the vehicle and a person of interest is in custody, city police Chief Daniel Thompson said. Names of those killed were being withheld until next of kin notifications could be completed, he said late Sunday. The police were working with the medical examiner to confirm fatalities, he said. The investigation is ongoing. “It is unclear at this time whether the incident has any nexus to terrorism,” Chief Thompson said.

 

NFL: RAVENS DUMP HAPLESS BEARS WITHOUT JACKSON 16-13 - Tyler Huntley was on the way to the game Sunday when he got the message from Lamar Jackson (ESPN). The Ravens' star quarterback was too sick to play. Subbing for Jackson, Huntley led a winning drive capped by Devonta Freeman's 3-yard run with 22 seconds remaining, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chicago Bears 16-13. "It's crazy," Huntley said. "I was walking toward the bus and Lamar texted me. He said, ‘Go do your thing today and (I'll be) watching.'"

 

NLF: BENGALS TOP SLUMPING RAIDERS 32-13 - Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon asked his teammates at Thursday's practice what the plans were for a touchdown celebration in lieu of their first-ever trip to Las Vegas (ESPN). "We was like, ‘we gotta do something like we gambling,'" Mixon said. Mixon rushed for 123 yards, scored two touchdowns, celebrated in the end zone by pretending to shake and roll a pair of dice, and the Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 32-13 on Sunday. The well-rested Bengals (6-4) came out of their bye week and snapped a two-game skid to climb back into the AFC North race, while the Raiders (5-5) lost their third straight since their bye week when they led the AFC West.

 

Sunday Talk

 

BUTTIGIEG SAYS MANDATES WON'T IMPACT HOLIDAY TRAVEL: With Thanksgiving on the horizon, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg assured the nation on Sunday that federal worker vaccine mandates will not impact holiday travel. Federal vaccination mandates for civilian federal employees kick in Monday. And Buttigieg said he expects no travel disruption because of it, noting his agency's employees have been very cooperative. “I have seen no indication the vaccine requirements are going to impact travel in any way, certainly in terms of our ability as a federal administration to provide the services that are needed,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“

 

CHRISTIE SAYS TRUMP NEEDS TO FOCUS ON FUTURE: Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie said on Sunday that former President Trump must stop talking about his belief that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" and instead focus on the future if he wants to run again in 2024. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday" to promote his new book, "Republican Rescue," Christie told guest host Bret Baier that as long as Trump believes he is the best person to be president, has a strong chance of winning and has his family's support, he should run again. Baier asked Christie if he believes Trump will ever concede the 2020 election to Biden. "Well, I hope he will, Bret. I don't know that he will, and he certainly hasn't now in a year, but I hope that what he'll do is move on and just stop talking about it. Even if he doesn't formally concede, we need to stop talking about the fact that the election was stolen when, as I lay out in the book, there's really no solid evidence that it was."

 

KISSINGER DOESN'T SEE CHINA AGGRESSION TOWARD TAIWAN:  Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Sunday that he does not expect China to launch a full-on military attack on Taiwan in the next decade. During an appearance on CNN, Kissinger told host Fareed Zakaria that the "ultimate creation of one China" is the objective of Chinese policy, but he doesn’t expect Beijing to use military force in the near future. “I don't expect an all-out attack on Taiwan in, say, a 10-year period, which is as far as I can see. I think it is perfectly possible that if the confrontation keeps growing, that the Chinese will take measures that will weaken the Taiwanese ability to appear substantially autonomous,” Kissinger said. “I think this is foreseeable, and we will have to decide as it evolves to what degree we'd consider that a military means or to what extent that's compatible within a political framework,” he added.

 

NAACP CALLS RITTENHOUSE VERDICT 'WARNING SHOT': NAACP President Derrick Johnson on Sunday called the not guilty verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial a "warning shot that vigilante justice is allowed," adding that it's hard for African Americans to reconcile the result with their experience with the country's justice system.  Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges against him on Friday after fatally shooting two people and injuring another during protests in Kenosha, Wis., last summer. Speaking with Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Johnson compared the crimes Black people have been convicted of to the actions of Rittenhouse, which were not deemed criminal. “We have far too many individuals sitting in jail for crimes they didn't commit or overcharged for crimes that were committed,” Johnson said.

 

SEN. CRAMER SAYS HE MAKES OWN DECISIONS: North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer (R) said on Sunday that he doesn’t make decisions on proposed bills based on whether they hurt or help President Biden or former President Trump. On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Cramer about the senator being the subject of recent attacks from Trump for his support of Biden’s infrastructure bill.  "I don't make my decision on legislation based on whether it hurts or helps Donald Trump or whether it hurts or helps Joe Biden," Cramer told Todd. "Unfortunately, right now, a lot of the rhetoric is centered around, as much as anything, 'This gave Joe Biden a victory.' Whether he gets a victory or not, I happen to believe that ... not every transaction in Washington requires a loser," he added.

 

GOTTLIEB DOESN'T SEES BOOSTER DESIGNATION THIS YEAR: Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider Americans “fully vaccinated” when they receive a booster shot, adding that recommendations to change it would likely not happen this year. “Should the CDC say you need a booster to be considered fully vaccinated?” “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Gottlieb on CBS. “I think at some point they're going to, but not this year,” Gottlieb answered.

 

CRUZ WANTS U.S. OLYMPIANS TO 'KICK COMMIE ASS': Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sunday that he hoped U.S. athletes “go over there and kick their commie asses” at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. “I also think it's important we do two things at the Olympics in China: Number one, that we actually show the courage the Women's Tennis Association is showing to call out the murder, the genocide, the torture, the lies, the complicity in COVID-19 of the Chinese Communist government, to speak the truth,” Cruz said during “Face the Nation” on CBS.

 

SUNUNU SIDESTEPS 2024 QUESTION: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on Sunday sidestepped a question on any presidential ambitions in 2024, saying he is focused on his work in the Granite State. Asked by co-host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he is considering a bid for the White House, Sununu said he will “see what the future brings.” “Now, people have asked me about that. And I have got to win in '22. I still have an election and earn the votes of the people in New Hampshire in 2022, serve a couple years,” said Sununu, who announced earlier this month that he would pass on a bid for the Senate next year to instead run for reelection in New Hampshire.

 

FAUCI HOPES FOR BOOSTER DURABILITY: President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he hopes COVID-19 boosters will increase vaccine durability so that “you will not necessarily need it” every six months or year. “We would hope - and this is something that we're looking at very carefully - that that third shot with the mRNA not only boosts you way up but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year,” Fauci said during “This Week” on ABC. “We're hoping it pushes it out more. If it doesn't, and the data show we do need it more often, then we'll do it,” he added.

 

SEARS WON'T SAY WHETHER SHE'S VACCINATED: Republican Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears on Sunday would not share her COVID-19 vaccination status following last month when she declined to say if she is vaccinated, contending that asking about such statuses becomes a “slippery slope” because it can lead to requests for other medical information. Asked by co-host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday if she wanted to reveal her vaccination status now that the campaign is over, Sears again refused to disclose any details, sounding the alarm about revealing personal medical information. “As I said, America, if it's nothing else, it's about liberty. It's about being able to live your life free from the government telling you what to do,” Sears said.

 

BETO WANT SAYS IF HE WANTS BIDEN TO STUMP FOR HIM: Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke would not say if he wants President Biden to campaign for him in the Lone Star State when asked on Sunday, arguing that the race will be about Texans and not national political figures. Asked by co-host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he would like Biden to travel to Texas and campaign with him, making note of the president’s 35 percent approval rating in the state, O’Rourke sidestepped a direct answer, instead saying that the election is going to remain focused on the Lone Star State and not national politics. “This campaign in Texas is not gonna be about Joe Biden. It's not gonna be about Donald Trump. It's not gonna be about anyone from outside of our state. This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want,” said O’Rourke, who announced his candidacy for governor last week.

 

MANCHIN WARMS TO FAMILY LEAVE SAYS GILLIBRAND: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) “has come a long way on paid leave” as the Senate gets ready to take up the social spending bill after the Thanksgiving break. “Well, Joe Manchin has come a long way on paid leave. I've been talking to him now for about three weeks on the topic, and in the beginning of our conversations, he didn't know a lot about pay leave, and he's come forward with a lot of really smart questions about, how would you build it? What would it look like?” Gillibrand said during “Face the Nation” on CBS. “So I'm optimistic that Sen. Manchin and I can continue to talk about ways to put paid leave in this bill because, long term, he wants it to be something that's bipartisan,” she added.