The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the APTA - A huge night for Joe Biden

    Presented by the American Public Transportation Association



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy hump day! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

It was a super Tuesday for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Argentina launches 'Green Mondays' campaign to cut greenhouse gases On The Money: Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium | Biden says he's open to compromise on corporate tax rate | Treasury unsure of how long it can stave off default without debt limit hike MORE, who scored a series of big victories and made important delegate gains as he put a dent into Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers McConnell sidesteps Cheney-Trump drama MORE’s (I-Vt.) bid and seized the momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination. 


Biden, who in two previous bids for the White House had never won a primary, reeled in victory after victory on Tuesday night. He swept the southern states and bagged surprise wins in delegate-rich Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota. He also is favored to take home Maine, which he led by a single point with 73 percent of precincts reporting (The Hill).


It was a night that exceeded expectations for the Biden team and set up a clash with Sanders for the 1,991 delegates needed for the nomination. The former vice president, following dismal showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, had invested weeks and nearly all of his campaign’s resources on winning the South Carolina primary on Saturday in hopes of making a more persuasive case to voters in March. He succeeded.


“It’s a good night, and it seems to be getting even better. … They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing,” Biden told supporters at a rally in Los Angeles. “People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement. We increased turnout. And the turnout turned out for us!" (The Hill).


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Biden shakes up Democratic race with Super Tuesday wins.


While Biden won the most states, Sanders took home the biggest prize of the evening: California. The Vermont Independent is counting on taking home most of the state’s 415 pledged delegates that were up for grabs in order to make up for Biden’s victories. However, the final delegate count may not be known for some time, as results from California could take days or weeks to tally.


“Tonight, I can tell you with absolute confidence, we’re going to win the Democratic nomination, and we’re going to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country,” Sanders told supporters in Vermont, which he also won on Tuesday night.


However, Biden was the storyline on Tuesday as he capped off what are undeniably the four best days of his campaign. Biden’s win on Saturday in South Carolina led establishment Democrats to rally around him, headlined by endorsements from former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans Biden plugs infrastructure with a personal favorite: Amtrak MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharRepublicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Minn.), allowing him to ride that wave to Super Tuesday success. Even those close to his campaign didn’t see this coming.


“In my lifetime, I have never seen a turnaround like the one Joe Biden has experienced,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), a Biden supporter, told the Morning Report. “He’s the unquestioned winner from Saturday through tonight, and is the clear leader in the Democratic race.”


Dan Balz: A wild Super Tuesday boosts Biden and brings new challenges for Sanders.


The New York Times: Biden revives campaign, winning nine states, but Sanders takes California.


John F. Harris: Democrats choose power over fashion.


The Atlantic: The establishment strikes back.


With results still outstanding from California, Biden holds the lead with 372 delegates to 304 delegates for Sanders.


Outside of the top two in the field, former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergFour years is not enough — Congress should make the child tax credit permanent Biden's spending plans: Good PR, but bad politics and policy Top 12 political donors accounted for almost 1 of every 13 dollars raised since 2009: study MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates MORE (D-Mass.) both performed well below expectations on Tuesday night, leading to questions about whether they will forge ahead to the March 10 primary states or end their campaigns. 


Tuesday marked the first time Bloomberg was on a Democratic primary ballot after he spent millions on television ads and staff with the hopes of taking an unconventional route to the nomination. However, his chances were dimmed dramatically as his only win came in the  American Samoa islands as he took home only 12 delegates overall. According to The Hill’s Max Greenwood and Amie Parnes, Bloomberg is expected to reassess his campaign today after the lackluster showing.


Reid Wilson, The Hill: Bloomberg's millions can't buy him many delegates.


Matt Flegenheimer: Democrats decide that Joe Biden, as risky as he ever was, Is the safest bet.


Warren was not much more successful than the former mayor on Tuesday night. Headlining her evening was a third place finish in her home state. She also failed to reach the 15 percent threshold for delegates in a host of states.


The poor performances for both candidates has already led to calls within the party to exit the race and endorse one of the two front-runners. Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSchumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands White House raises refugee cap to 62,500 Sharpton eulogizes Daunte Wright: 'Tags of racism' have expired MORE (D-Minn.), a Sanders backer, lamented late Tuesday that the progressive wing of the party should have done exactly what the centrists did between South Carolina and Super Tuesday.


“Imagine if the progressives consolidated last night like the moderates consolidated, who would have won?” Omar tweeted. “That’s what we should be analyzing. I feel confident a united progressive movement would have allowed for us to #BuildTogether and win MN and other states we narrowly lost.”


However, Warren’s campaign indicated that she has no intention of departing the race. In a fundraising email to supporters, Warren’s team said that despite the results, its focus is on the upcoming primaries on March 10.  


“But here's the bottom line: There are six more primaries just one week away, and we need your help to keep up the momentum,” Warren’s campaign said, asking supporters to make donations. 


The Boston Globe: After a disappointing Super Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren’s path to the nomination is narrower than ever.


Politico: Warren team turns grim after Super Tuesday wipeout.


Notably, Warren spent her night campaigning in Michigan, which will award 125 delegates on Tuesday. The Wolverine State’s total accounts for more than one-third of the total number of delegates that are up for grabs next week. The other states that will hold contests on March 10 are Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho and North Dakota. 


The Washington Post: Super Tuesday results, state by state.


The Washington Post: Democratic primary delegates tracker.


Politico: Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsEx-Sen. Doug Jones joins law and lobbying firm Arent Fox Former Barr spokesperson at DOJ hired to be Fox News Washington editor Biden should call for Article I immigration courts MORE forced into runoff for Alabama Senate seat.


The Texas Tribune: U.S. Reps. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerRepublican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE (R) and Henry Cuellar (D) claim victory in congressional primary races.


The Hill: President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE glides to victory in Super Tuesday GOP contests.





ECONOMY: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday said the U.S. economy is strong. But minutes after the nation’s central bank announced a surprise interest rate cut of 50 basis points in response to worries about the coronavirus, financial markets gave a thumbs-down to hopes that monetary policy might be the elixir for supply chain problems, travel industry shocks and small businesses skating on thin margins.


At the end of a roller-coaster day in which stocks briefly rebounded, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.9 percent (The Associated Press).


Analysts discussed the prospects of a U.S. recession and fiscal expansion mechanisms that might get ahead of layoffs if the deadly virus continues to spread nationwide and alters commerce and freedom of movement in ways that pull the curtain down on the longest U.S. expansion since the Great Recession. Ideas: payroll tax reductions, more generous unemployment insurance benefits, federal lending to small businesses.


“We think it can avoid a tightening of financial conditions,” Powell (pictured below) told reporters on Tuesday morning, speaking of the half-point change (The Hill).


“We do recognize a rate cut will not reduce the rate of infection. It won’t fix a broken supply chain. We get that,” Powell added. “But we do believe that our action will provide a meaningful boost to the economy.”


Reuters: Wall Street losses deepen after Fed emergency rate cut.


Bloomberg News: More investors question just how well the economy can hold up.


The New York Times: Investors see growing threats to the outlook for economic growth and corporate profits over the next 10 months.


CNBC: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE said he supports the Fed rate cut. Trump, who is persistently critical of the Federal Reserve, admonished the central bank on Tuesday to keep lowering rates.


The administration is facing growing calls on Capitol Hill to explain how it will protect the economy, while Congress is developing a proposal with the White House to invest close to $8 billion in federal resources to help fight COVID-19 (The Hill).


Neil Irwin, The New York Times: Is fiscal stimulus the answer to preventing a coronavirus recession? If Congress moves in that direction in the next few months, it would be an uncommonly swift response, especially in a presidential election year.





CORONAVIRUS: In the United States, Tuesday ended with a flurry of sobering headlines about the pathogen that has found new footholds in New York and Georgia and almost a third of the states. COVID-19 is challenging public officials and rearranging plans made by millions of workers, employers, parents, students and senior citizens.


The virus spreads easily and kills the old and the sick. Schools have closed. There are not yet enough test kits. More transmissions of the virus are complete mysteries. And the death toll on Tuesday rose to nine adults, all in Washington state. The first infection was detected on Tuesday in a military veteran, the first known infection in the Veterans Affairs health system.


To date, the United States has reported 127 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection in 16 states (The New York Times tracker map).


Globally, COVID-19 has killed 3,198 people and infected at least 93,455 patients in close to 80 countries, according to the latest information


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue new guidance clarifying that any American can be tested for COVID-19 infection without restrictions and with a doctor’s order, Vice President Pence said during a briefing for reporters on Tuesday (The New York Times).


Today, administration officials plan to meet at the White House with airline CEOs to discuss data gleaned from the public health detective work to trace the movements of infected Americans, most of whom caught the virus after traveling to China, South Korea, Italy or Iran, or became infected aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship previously docked in Tokyo.


The administration is weighing the high costs of hospital care for some infected patients and is considering reimbursing hospitals for treating uninsured people who are infected with the virus (The Wall Street Journal).


“We’re going to be looking at the uninsured and see if we can help them out,” Trump said on Tuesday during a tour of a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


About 2 percent of patients globally who have been infected with COVID-19 have died, and about 5 percent have developed serious infections that may require oxygen therapy or ventilators, based on research on cases in China. 


The epidemic has slowed in China; hot zones remain in South Korea and Italy.


CNN: The coronavirus spreads across the world.


The Associated Press: In Iran, the virus has killed 77 people and infected 8 percent of the country’s parliament.


The Wall Street Journal: The first U.S. coronavirus deaths occurred earlier than initially realized.


The World Bank and International Monetary Fund canceled planned meetings in Washington this spring. They now plan to hold virtual conferences (The Daily Beast).


NPR: Google canceled a conference planned in May. On Tuesday, it was the latest among many rearrangements in the United States prompted by the coronavirus.







CONGRESS: The nomination of Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE (R-Texas) to serve as director of national intelligence is undergoing a new round of uncertainty as a key Senate Republican threatens his chances of getting through the Senate Intelligence Committee.


As Alexander Bolton writes, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell sidesteps Cheney-Trump drama Romney defends Cheney: She 'refuses to lie' The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection in the fall, was cool to the idea of giving Ratcliffe the job when his name was floated in July and subsequently pulled back after complaints that he exaggerated accomplishments on his résumé. However, the GOP holds a 10-9 member advantage on the committee, meaning that one senator could sink Ratcliffe’s nomination, with the spotlight directed in Collins’s direction.





> FISA: Trump says he is prepared to let U.S. surveillance programs lapse without reauthorization by Congress and the executive branch unless a special court that authorizes law enforcement spying as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is changed (The Hill).


> Cybersecurity: A bipartisan report to be released next week will include 75 recommendations for Congress on how to defend the nation against cyberattacks on a variety of systems. The report, which was compiled by the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission over the past year, aims to define federal priorities around defending the U.S. against cyber threats is set to be released next week, with members of the commission that assembled the congressionally mandated report using the Super Tuesday contests to highlight the election security priorities included in the report (The Hill).


The Hill: Dems unlikely to subpoena former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonRepublicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Trump pushes back on Bolton poll Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions MORE.


> Afghanistan: The United States launched an airstrike on Wednesday against the Taliban just days after signing a peace deal with the group. The U.S. military launched the strike to interrupt a Taliban attack on a checkpoint manned by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, according to a spokesman (The Hill). 


Top House Republicans had already expressed misgivings about a deal the Trump administration struck with the Taliban, predicting the insurgents would breach the terms and leave Afghanistan and U.S. forces at risk (The Hill). 


Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyConservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Kinzinger hits GOP on 'operation #coverupJan6' over Cheney ouster plot MORE (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican and the conference’s preeminent defense hawk, has been one of the most vocal critics of the agreement. 


> Taxes:  Congress on Tuesday that high-tax states should consider lowering their taxes. He was responding to challenges by lawmakers about the impact of the GOP tax law’s cap on state and local taxes. The deductibility of such taxes went from unlimited to capped at $10,000 under the GOP tax reform law signed by Trump in 2018. People most affected (and complaining to Congress) are in high-tax states such as California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont (plus the District of Columbia) (Reuters).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Chief Justice John Roberts is heading down a collision course with himself, Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2vrA0HO 


Is the Fed a pawn of the stock market? by Nick Sargen, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/39nh8Im 


The official coronavirus numbers are wrong, and everyone knows it, by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3crCd6t


Public transportation is critical to getting people to work and school and keeping America’s economy strong. We must increase investment in this vital public service today to build the future we want. Learn more.


The House meets at 10 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee meets at 10 a.m. to discuss the president’s fiscal 2021 budget request for NIH with Director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of the Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act of 2019. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan will appear before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the role of global aviation in containing the spread of the coronavirus.


The president will address the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit at 1:30 p.m. at a Washington hotel. Trump will welcome the presentation of the Boy Scouts’ Report to the nation at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpJill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans Petition calls for Jill Biden to undo Trump-era changes to White House Rose Garden Fox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie MORE will speak at 10 a.m. at the annual State Department International Women of Courage Awards event. 


Pence begins a long day focused on the coronavirus response at 10 a.m. with a briefing for CEOs of long term, post-acute and palliative care companies. An hour later, the vice president meets with CEOs of U.S. airlines to discuss the virus and data about contact tracing. Shortly after noon, Pence participates in a coronavirus briefing with chief executives from diagnostic laboratory companies. At 2 p.m., he travels to the Capitol to meet with House Republicans. Pence will speak to House Democrats a half-hour later. At 4:30 p.m. back at the White House, the vice president will meet with the president’s task force focused on battling COVID-19. Officials from the task force will join the vice president to answer questions from the news media at 5:30 p.m. 


Mnuchin will testify at 10 a.m. before the House Appropriations Committee about the president’s fiscal 2021 budget. The department will livestream his remarks.


The Council on Foreign Relations hosts another forum in its series, “Election 2020 U.S. Foreign Policy,” at Florida International University in Miami from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Speaking: council President Richard Haass; Jose Fernandez, former assistant secretary of State for economic, energy and business affairs under former President Obama; and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Kori Schake. It will be livestreamed and information is HERE


Intelligence Squared and the Hoover Institution in California will host a live public debate featuring former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster and three other experts to discuss whether "The Maximum Pressure Campaign Against Iran Is Working.” The event will be livestreamed beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT. Information is HERE


Catch The Hill’s Campaign Report newsletter, with the latest from The Hill’s politics team. Sign up to receive evening updates, polling data and insights about the 2020 elections. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


Tornado: Hundreds of Nashville residents are homeless and at least 24 were killed, some while they were sleeping, by fast-moving tornadoes that tore through the downtown area early Tuesday (The Associated Press). Trump announced he will visit the disaster area and meet with local officials on Friday.


Supreme Court: Justices on Tuesday widened the ability of states to use criminal laws against illegal immigrants and other people who do not have work authorization in the United States. The ruling stems from identity theft prosecutions in Kansas (Reuters). ... The Supreme Court on Tuesday during oral arguments appeared divided along ideological lines about the constitutionality of the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency created by law in 2010 (The Hill).


➔ State watch: In Wisconsin, they take cheese very seriously. In fact, the state hosts the largest technical dairy competition, which began on Tuesday and has drawn a record 3,667 entries from 26 countries. The biennial World Championship of Cheese Contest has 132 classes of dairy products in contention. The winner takes a bow on Thursday (The Associated Press).


And finally … Around the Tidal Basin in Washington, Yoshino cherry trees, which were first gifted to the nation’s capital by Japan more than a century ago, are ahead of schedule during the first phase of budding compared with 2019. A warm winter has inspired early stirring among the Higan cherry trees near the basin. The entire pink and white spectacle in Washington typically draws more than 1.5 million visitors each spring. 


The National Park Service today will announce its best estimate for the height of cherry blossom beauty. NPS spokesperson Mike Litterst told DCist, “If we continue to have above average temperatures, then it’s likely that peak bloom will occur before the historic average date of April 3.”


Get ready for long lunch hour strolls and Tidal Basin selfies: It was 65 degrees in Washington on Tuesday, and daffodils and crocuses are up. Plus, daylight saving time, which begins on Sunday, is guaranteed to put everyone in the mood for spring.





*** Morning Report correction: Jack Welch, who died on Monday, was the former chief executive of General Electric Company, not GM. We regret our Tuesday brain freeze.