The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the APTA — Now it's Biden vs. Bernie: no endorsement from Warren

 

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. TGIF! 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!

 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenKamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick MORE (D-Mass.) announced on Thursday that she is suspending her 2020 Democratic presidential bid, officially turning the race into a one-on-one battle between former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Connecticut in final presidential primary of year Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris MORE (I-Vt.).  

Warren made the announcement on Thursday morning from the driveway of her home in Cambridge, Mass., after a poor showing on Super Tuesday and being unable to crack the top two finishers in any of the first 18 contests (The Hill).

"We didn’t reach our goal, but what we have done together — what you have done — has made a lasting difference. It’s not the scale of the difference we wanted to make, but it matters — and the changes will have ripples for years to come," Warren told her staff while announcing her decision (The Washington Post).

The Wall Street Journal: Elizabeth Warren drops out of presidential race.

Throughout her campaign, she became known for her constant stream of policy proposals and for having “a plan for that.” Warren, whose high-water mark came in early October when she served as the Democratic front-runner, was also known in political circles for her organizational strength. However, after being pilloried over her support for “Medicare for All” (and subsequent decision to backtrack from it), she was unable to translate that into support at the ballot box.

Warren said that while she had spoken to both Sanders and Biden, she would not immediately endorse either campaign (The Hill). 

The New York Times: Will Elizabeth Warren endorse a candidate? She has a few options.

The Hill: Warren on Sanders supporters' online attacks: “I think it's a real problem.”

The Hill: Trump: Warren dropping out “three days too late.”

Notably, the Massachusetts Democrat’s exit also marks the end of the run for female candidates with a legitimate shot at the nomination. Starting on March 15, the debates are expected to feature Biden and Sanders exclusively as the Democratic National Committee is expected to raise the threshold for inclusion, meaning Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocrat Kai Kahele wins Hawaii primary to replace Tulsi Gabbard Financial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE (D-Hawaii) likely will not qualify. 

“All those little girls who are going to have to wait four more years,” Warren told reporters. “That’s going to be hard.”

Reid Wilson, The Hill: On The Trail: Warren falls victim to the electability obsession.

The Hill: Women ask “if not now when?” after Warren exits the presidential race.

As for Sanders and Biden, both candidates are gearing up for Tuesday as six states will hold primary or caucuses, with intense focus on Michigan, a key general election state that will dole out 125 delegates. Sanders’s team announced that instead of holding a rally in Jackson, Miss., he will instead be campaigning in Michigan — the only swing state contest next week — on Friday and Sunday. Sanders indicated to reporters on Wednesday that he will be going all out to win there in what has become a must-win contest (The New York Times). Sanders stunned Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states California Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate MORE in the 2016 Michigan primary, taking the state by 1.5 points.  

Meanwhile, the former vice president rolled out a pair of key endorsements ahead of the Michigan primary as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — who delivered the Democratic State of the Union response last month — and Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinPaul Junge wins Michigan GOP primary to challenge Elissa Slotkin Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze House Democrat warns about 'inaccurate' polls: Trump voters 'fundamentally undercounted' MORE (D-Mich.) both announced their support. Biden will campaign in the coming days in Missouri, Mississippi and Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s contests. 

The Associated Press: Biden’s victories unleash something he’s never had: Money. 

The Washington Post: The day everything went Joe Biden’s way.

Amie Parnes, The Hill: Sanders ad with former President Obama raises eyebrows.

The Washington Post: Mike Bloomberg plans new group to support Democratic nominee.

One issue remains unresolved for the candidates in the coming weeks: whether they will receive protection from the Secret Service after a scary moment on Tuesday night when two dairy protesters rushed the stage at Biden’s victory event. Former second lady Jill Biden and spokeswoman Symone SandersSymone SandersBiden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Biden criticized for comparing Latino and African American diversity Biden campaign plans red-state media blitz MORE were forced to deal with one of the protesters as the former vice president is not under Secret Service protection.  

During an interview on Thursday, Biden told NBC’s “Today” show that it’s something that should be looked into. Prior to the Nevada caucuses, dairy protesters also interrupted Sanders at an event. 

“I think that that’s something that has to be considered the more outrageous some of this becomes,” Biden said. “My wife’s something else, isn’t she? I wasn’t scared for me. I was worried for Jill. God love her. She’s incredible” (Politico). 

In order to receive Secret Service protection, a campaign must ask the Department of Homeland Security to assess threats, with the “big four” congressional leaders eventually reviewing that assessment and making a decision. According to the Secret Service on Thursday, “no candidates have requested protection” at this point. 

In the 2016 cycle, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE and Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump administration ends Obama fair housing rule Castro urges Dems to seize moment on social reform Overnight Health Care: Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House | Alabama to require face masks | House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts MORE received Secret Service protection in November 2015, while Sanders received protection in February 2016 following the Iowa caucuses. Hillary Clinton already was protected by the Secret Service as a former first lady. 

During his time as vice president, Biden’s Secret Service code name was “Celtic.” Sanders’s during the 2016 cycle was “Intrepid” (Time).

The Hill: Protestor who rushed stage at Biden rally: “There wasn't tight security.” 

Tim Alberta, Politico Magazine: “Life After Bernie”: The young left braces for disappointment in 2020.

 

 





LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: Headlines about the coronavirus emergency in the United States told a hand-wringing story on Thursday about levels of national anxiety. First, confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus are spiking. Second, without sufficient tests among masses of people, the virus is able to move deeper into communities undetected. Experts believe the respiratory ravages of COVID-19 could be significant in the United States until a vaccine is deployed.

The wait for an approved vaccine is estimated to be at least a year. The wait for 1 million tests to track transmissions and help people who have symptoms of respiratory illness was supposed to take a week.

The New York Times: Confirmed coronavirus cases in New York double to 22 while 2,700 people are under quarantine.

States on Thursday reported limited testing supplies and members of Congress said they are wary of reassurances from Trump administration officials about the availability of 1 million tests.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar again told reporters, as he did early this week, that a private manufacturer authorized to make the tests expects to ship the promised kits to U.S. laboratories by the end of this week. 

That amounts to the capacity to test roughly 400,000 people; it takes multiple test samples to confirm a single result (The Associated Press).

The number of U.S. cases has grown rapidly in the last several days after more labs started testing and guidelines for eligibility were expanded. This morning, the United States reports 233 confirmed cases of the new strain of virus, including 13 deaths — one in California and the rest in Washington (The New York Times). 

The Washington Post: Three people in Maryland report the first cases of coronavirus in the state. (Three states have thus far declared emergencies: Maryland, California and Washington.)

The New York Times tracking map: At least 18 states report cases.

Around the world this morning, the death toll is 3,383, with 98,704 reported cases in seven dozen countries, according to the latest information.

Seventeen times as many cases of COVID-19 are now outside of China as in it, and a worried World Health Organization on Thursday ordered countries to “pull out all the stops” and “push this virus back” (The Associated Press).

Trump will soon receive a bill he’s promised to sign, approved this week by the House and Senate with bipartisan support. It would release $8.3 billion into the U.S. battle against COVID-19. The measure includes funds for lab testing, infection control and tracing people who came in contact with infected people (The Hill). The bill’s details are multifaceted; some lawmakers believe more federal help may be needed for the majority of U.S. workers who have no paid sick leave and might not be able to work (The Associated Press). 

Trump, speaking about the coronavirus Thursday in Scranton, Pa., during a live town hall program moderated by Fox News, said, “We’ve been given really tremendous marks … for the way we’ve handled it” (New York Post).

As the number of cases of COVID-19 mount in the United States, so do questions about costs of the medical care required from start to finish, especially among older patients who are most at risk for life-threatening illnesses that place heavy demands on hospitals, nurses, doctors and clinicians (The Hill). 

Reuters: U.S. insurers are working to ease coronavirus out-of-pocket medical costs.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Why a rising star is leaving Congress Inslee, GOP's Culp advance in Washington governor's race MORE (D), who greeted Vice President Pence at a military facility outside Tacoma with an elbow bump on Thursday, announced plans to cover the costs of tests for people in his state who lack health insurance. Washington has 75 known cases of the coronavirus. “We have the authority and intention to cover those costs," said Inslee (pictured below), who has publicly clashed with the Trump administration over its public health readiness and coordination to date

Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler added that a new emergency order requires Washington health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without copays or deductibles. 

"In addition to that, individuals will be able to have a one-time refill on their prescriptions as a part of that emergency order," Kreidler added (KUOW).

Inslee said people in his state should "seriously consider" avoiding large events with crowds. The spread of the virus has prompted businesses and nonprofits nationwide to cancel conferences and nonessential travel, relying on telework, video hookups and increasingly cautious face-to-face meetings among colleagues.

Trump, Pence and business leaders are eager to calm public jitters and soften economic shocks that pose recessionary risks. At the White House, officials advise Americans to go about their daily lives while exercising “common sense” about their risks of infection (The Hill). Trump tasked the vice president with the heavy lifting to manage a major public health crisis, while the president serves as national cheerleader and keeps his focus on reelection (Politico).

The Associated Press: Around the world, fears of COVID-19’s “devastation” for the poor. Vatican City reports its first case of the virus while insisting Pope FrancisPope FrancisFormer pope ill after trip to Germany: report Group says China hackers infiltrated Vatican ahead of expected talks McCarthy calls on Pelosi to condemn 'mob violence' after toppling of St. Junipero Serra statue MORE has a cold, and a member of France’s Parliament has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

 

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CONGRESS: Two days later, the battle between Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Republicans continues to rage after the Democratic leader warned that two conservative justices would “pay the price” if they voted against abortion rights. 

Schumer tried to do damage control in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, saying that he “should not have used the words I used” at the rally in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday about Justices Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchBiden needs to bring religious Americans into the Democratic fold McConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP leaders go into attack mode against Harris Kamala Harris: The right choice at the right time Trump says Harris was 'my No. 1 pick' for Biden's VP MORE. However, the damage was done, leading to the war of words that has erupted, headlined by Chief Justice John Roberts’s rare rebuke of the New York Democrat. 

Since then, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks MORE (R-Ky.) denounced Schumer on the Senate floor, calling the comments a “threat” and saying it was clear who it was directed at, while Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead MORE (R-Mo.) threatened a censure attempt against the Senate Democratic leader. 

Senate Democrats have rushed to Schumer’s side in the aftermath, saying his remarks were mischaracterized. 

“I respect Chief Justice John Roberts, but I respectfully disagree with the statement he made yesterday about Senator Schumer’s comments before the Supreme Court building. It is not in Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE’s nature to physically threaten anyone, or to create a dangerous situation for any person. That is just not Chuck Schumer,” said Sen. Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate MORE (D-Ill.).

As Harper Neidig and Jordain Carney write, although Schumer admitted the comments were a mistake, the uproar could provide an opening for both sides to highlight the court's agenda this term. Brian Fallon, the executive director of the progressive group Demand Justice, said that it’s “fully appropriate” for political leaders to call out what he sees as the court’s partisan agenda.

 

 

> Health care: Vulnerable Senate Republicans are dodging direct answers about whether they support a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court announced earlier this week it plans to take up. 

News that the court will rule on the suit poses a new headache for Republicans in tough races this year as they look to hold onto their Senate majority. Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (R-N.C.) told The Hill he is focused on protecting people with pre-existing conditions, but did not say definitively whether he supports the lawsuit. Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate Progressive Jewish group endorses Biden MORE (R-Ariz.), facing a tough race against Mark Kelly, said she did not want to comment on a “judicial proceeding.”  

> Surveillance: Lawmakers are struggling to come up with a deal to extend expiring intelligence programs as they only have four working days to get legislation through both chambers and to President Trump’s desk by the March 15 deadline. 

How that gets done, or what a final bill would like, remains unclear as the surveillance fight has sparked deep political and policy divisions on both sides of the aisle and in the House and Senate. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump says he'll accept nomination from either White House or Gettysburg Meadows says he wants Trump nomination speech 'miles and miles away' from White House MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, acknowledged that debate over expiring provisions in the USA Freedom Act, as well as whether to tackle broader surveillance reforms, was an open question this late in the game.  

“I think, as you know, we’re not all in the same place,” Thune said. “I would say the consensus position in the conference is that everybody wants to explore reforms. … The question is what’s the best way to get that done” (The Hill).

 

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!



OPINION

Why government leaders must act now to address the next recession, by Claudia Sahm, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/334sKOt 

Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnMaxine Waters expresses confidence Biden will pick Black woman as VP Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden Clyburn: 'No question' Kanye West effort is attempt to take votes from Biden MORE Saves the Democrats, by Peggy Noonan, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2PPlVLe 

ObamaCare: 10 years of distress and disappointment, by Chris Talgo, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2xeCg5E



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet Monday at noon.   

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. on Monday. 

The president will travel to Nashville to survey tornado damage and meet with state and local officials. He will then head to Florida to join a political roundtable in Palm Beach with supporters this evening and speak at a GOP joint fundraising committee dinner there at 8:30 p.m. 

Pence will meet with the president’s coronavirus task force later today. On Saturday he will be in Florida to meet with cruise ship companies to discuss the coronavirus and public health issues (Cruise Industry News).

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its employment report for February at 8:30 a.m. — eagerly awaited early data because of the ongoing economic shocks tied to the coronavirus. Here’s why analysts think the COVID-19 impact is hard to gauge at the moment (The New York Times).

The Center for American Progress at 11:30 a.m. will host a discussion with seasoned experts about the coronavirus and effective responses to the current global health emergency. Speakers include Ronald Klain, former Ebola response coordinator for former President Obama; Rachel Levin, M.D., Pennsylvania health secretary; Lisa Monaco, former White House homeland security adviser to Obama; and Johns Hopkins University Associate Professor Jennifer Nuzzo, who is an epidemiologist. Information and RSVP 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.



ELSEWHERE

Courts: A U.S. immigration judge on Thursday ruled that a Tennessee resident who is a German citizen can be deported to Germany because of his admitted work in 1945 as a concentration camp guard during World War II. Citing the Immigration and Nationality Act, the judge said Friedrich Karl Berger, 94, provided “willing service as an armed guard of prisoners at a concentration camp where persecution took place” (The Hill). … Lawyers for the NFL and DirecTV have asked the Supreme Court to review a long-simmering class action lawsuit that deals with whether individual teams, not the NFL, should be able to determine how paying cable or dish audiences can get live telecasts on Sundays. A decision on whether the high court will take up the case is expected as early as this week (ESPN).

Immigration: Trump on Thursday said his administration will begin withholding funding from self-described sanctuary cities after a federal court ruled last week that it could do so. The president argues that cities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation in defiance of the federal government are sheltering criminals. "As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities," Trump tweeted. "They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!" (The Hill). … Federal apprehensions at the U.S. border with Mexico spiked in February for the first time since May, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released on Thursday. The government reported 30,068 people apprehended in February, a 2.95 percent increase from January. A rise in illegal border crossings from single adults and unaccompanied minors resulted in the higher number, CBP said (The Hill).

OPEC: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday agreed to cut oil output by an extra 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter of 2020 to support prices that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak. The intergovernmental organization of 14 nations made its action conditional on Russia and others joining in (Reuters).

In The Know: Former President Clinton, speaking during a Hulu documentary about his wife, says he feels "terrible" about the public scrutiny former White House intern Monica Lewinsky experienced following their sexual relationship in 1998. The documentary, “Hillary,” is available on Friday, according to The Daily Mail. The 42nd president, who initially denied having an affair with “that woman,” who was 23 at the time, now says he thinks Lewinsky’s life was “unfairly” defined by what occurred. Lewinsky was exhaustively questioned about her actions with the president by former independent counsel Kenneth Starr and later by members of the House impeachment team (The Hill).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Morning Report readers are on top of the latest news about the coronavirus known as COVID-19, so kudos to our Quiz Masters for being prepared and attentive to all known health risks and precautions!

Acing this week’s puzzle: Mark McKee, Mike Axelrod, Lin S. Franks, Daniel Bachhuber, Daniel McLellan, Laura Silver, Allyson Foster, Tim Aiken, Thomas Miller, William Chittam, Tom Werkema, John Hille, Dianne Smith, Kathryn Elsayed, Donna Nackers, Judi Buckley, Mary Frances Trucco, Larry Charles, Patrick Kavanagh, Richard Davis, Glen Smith, Ray Fleming, Ilene Kantrov, John Ciorciari,  Michael Kenny, Bob Schneiderman, Tim Burrack and Abby Alkire

More winners: Luke Charpentier, Majda Seuss, Margaret Gainer, David E. Letostak, Walter Pflaumer, Thomas Schoener, John Donato, Candi Cee, Caroline Fisher, J. Stewart Baker, Mike Roberts, Charity Frasier, Joan Domingues, Ricky Soberano, David Keltz, Priscilla M. Cobb, Richard Kolber, Janet Larson, Manny Glaubitz, John Carlan, Kane Martin, Carol Katz, John H. van Santen, Jim Bond, Robert Nordmeyer, Dan Kostenbauder, Buzz Watkins, PDYKE, Robert Salmon, Pat Williams, Enzo de Palma and David Anderson. 

They knew that children are the least likely to die following infection with COVID-19, according to available medical data.

Europe’s epicenter of the new coronavirus is in Italy.

To avoid COVID-19 infection, health experts recommend that we wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based products; avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth; practice social distancing (three feet) from people who cough or sneeze; and avoid nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. Thus, the correct quiz answer is “all of the above.”  

Researchers and medical experts predict a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved and available for the general public in a year to 18 months.