The Hill's Morning Report - Biden delivers another devastating blow to Sanders




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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE dealt a potentially crippling blow to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign Tuesday as he reeled off a series of big victories, including in Michigan, the biggest contest of the night, and expanded his lead in the delegate race.


Biden, continuing a remarkable winning streak that began in South Carolina on Feb. 29,  captured at least four states on Wednesday. Mississippi and Missouri were called for the former vice president within 30 minutes of the polls closing and Michigan delivered the major prize of the evening with 125 delegates, more than one-third of the total for the taking on Tuesday. He also took home the Idaho primary by 6 points.


The Washington primary and North Dakota caucuses remain up for grabs. In Washington, Biden and Sanders are neck-and-neck with 68 percent of precincts in. Sanders leads Biden in North Dakota by 6 points with 78 percent of precincts reporting.


Combining last night’s tallies with those from Super Tuesday contests, Biden has won at least 14 of the 20 states holding contests, with Sanders winning four (two states have not yet been called this morning), showing the former vice president’s commanding dominance over Sanders over the course of 10 days. 


According to The New York Times, Biden leads the overall delegate race 823 to 663 over Sanders. In Tuesday night’s contests, Biden won 153 to 89, while 110 delegates are at large. 


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Democrats make their choice — it's Biden vs. Trump.


The Hill: Biden takes command of the Democratic race.


Reid Wilson, The Hill: Sanders's path narrows as losses mount.


Matt Flegenheimer and Katie Glueck, The New York Times: Joe Biden is poised to deliver the biggest surprise of 2020: A short, orderly primary.


Over the past week, Sanders concentrated on the Wolverine State, eager to keep Michigan in his column after narrowly defeating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Van Jones: A 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' can pose a greater threat to black Americans than the KKK Taylor Swift slams Trump tweet: 'You have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?' MORE there four years ago. But the state that backed Sanders by a 1.5 percentage-point margin in 2016 over the establishment Democrat changed its tune and backed Biden last night by 16 points. After he carried 73 of 83 counties against Clinton, he was unable to win a single county last night.


“To all those who have been knocked down, to all those who have been counted out, let behind — this is your campaign,” said Biden, who grew up in Pennsylvania and represented neighboring Delaware for 36 years in the Senate. “Just over a week ago, many of the pundits declared that this candidacy was dead. Now, we’re very much alive.” 


“Although there’s a way to go, it looks like we’re going to have another great night,” Biden continued during a speech in Philadelphia. “This campaign is taking off and I believe we’re going to do well from this point on.”


The Pennsylvania primary is ahead on April 28.


The Washington Post: In a week Sanders had to get right, he couldn’t grow support or change the story line.


The Associated Press: Now it’s Joe Biden’s nomination to lose.


The Hill: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.): DNC should shut down primaries, debates if Biden sweeps states.


Making matters worse for Sanders were results from Idaho, Washington and North Dakota -- all states where he cleaned up in 2016, having won those states by 57, 46 and 39 points, respectively. Sanders, came nowhere close to replicating those results, having lost in Idaho, with the other states remaining too close to call. 


Biden extended an olive branch to Sanders and his supporters as ballots were counted on Tuesday, commending their zeal and persistence. 


"I want to thank Bernie Sanders and their supporters for their tireless energy and their passion,” Biden said. “We share a common goal — and together we'll defeat Donald Trump."


"Winning means uniting America — not sowing more division and anger,” Biden continued. “It means having a president who not only knows how to fight but knows how to heal."


The Hill: Black voters deliver decisive victory to Biden in Mississippi.


Politico: Bernie Sanders is all but done.


The Hill: Sanders’s path narrows as losses mount.


Biden delivered his speech after both candidates canceled campaign events scheduled in Cleveland. Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, told MSNBC’s Brian Williams that he honored a request from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who recommended that both campaigns cancel events that pulled masses of people together in close proximity.  


Biden announced he will speak in Wilmington, Del., on Thursday about the coronavirus rather than headline a campaign event that night in Tampa.


After Sanders canceled a rally in Cleveland, he dodged reporters on Tuesday night. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez rips de Blasio after police cruiser drives into crowd of protestors NYPD police cruisers lurch through group of demonstrators protesting Floyd's death States respond with force amid another night of protests MORE (D-N.Y.), a top surrogate for the Sanders campaign, summed up the disappointment: "There's no sugarcoating it. Tonight is a tough night" (The Hill).


Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who was born in Michigan and supports the Vermont Independent, told MSNBC late Tuesday that he hopes Sanders does not end his campaign, reminding viewers that a Democratic nominee must secure 1,991 delegates. 


“I would look at the board. … This game isn’t over,” Moore said, adding that the remaining primary states should “have their say.” 


However, Biden’s wins earned him the support of a multitude of Democratic organizations, along with another former rival for the Democratic nomination. 


American Bridge, the foremost opposition research firm on the Democratic side, announced it is “all in” for the former vice president, while Priorities USA action, a top Democratic super PAC, announced that the group will do “everything we can” to help Biden. 


Meanwhile, Andrew YangAndrew YangAndrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis McConnell challenger on how Yang endorsement could help him MORE followed the lead of Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisStates respond with force amid another night of protests Protesters knock down White House security barricades as tensions mount over Floyd's death The Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.J.), and threw his weight behind Biden. Yang told CNN that the 77-year-old frontrunner is the “prohibitive nominee.”


“The math says Joe is our prohibitive nominee. We need to bring the party together. We need to start working on defeating Donald Trump in the fall,” Yang said.


Biden and Sanders are set to debate on Sunday in Phoenix without a live audience (a nod to the coronavirus risk). On Tuesday, four key states will weigh in on the Democratic race: Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona (577 delegates). Georgia holds its Democratic primary on March 24 (105 delegates) and Puerto Rico (51 delegates) votes next on March 29; Biden leads Sanders in polling in every state and territory still on the calendar this month.


The two candidates are expected to deliver remarks in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Sanders campaigned in Rockford, Ill., early on Tuesday and has been there repeatedly over the last month.





CORONAVIRUS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE on Tuesday did not unveil, as he promised he would on Monday, the “very dramatic” details of a fiscal stimulus plan to buoy a coronavirus-shocked economy. 


But the president and his economic advisers sketched a menu of ideas focused on a payroll tax holiday along with federal help for workers who do not have paid sick leave; lending to small- and medium-size businesses; federal support for specific industry sectors harmed by the virus, possibly through tax deferrals; and a second round of GOP tax cuts to be introduced in the summer or early fall in time for the election.  


Foreshadowing what could be a protracted faceoff with House and Senate Democrats over the best response to stave off recession and help the economy, Trump met in the Capitol with Republican senators on Tuesday and embraced the idea of waiving through November payroll taxes paid by employers and employees — revenues that by law support Social Security, Medicare and social insurance programs (The Hill).


The president criticized Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.), who believes the best way to help American families ride out the coronavirus is to give them emergency paid leave if they have to be away from their jobs for any reason related to the virus; offset the costs of coronavirus testing and co-pays to consult physicians; and help workers compensated with tips, who work in the gig economy, or who shoulder irregular, on-demand shifts or seasonal work that may shrink in an economy frozen by fear because of the virus.


Trump accused Pelosi of floating proposals “that she wanted to get for other things.”


Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.), who backs Pelosi in opposition to waiving the payroll tax to boost growth, accused Trump and the administration of “incompetence” in managing a “health crisis in America.”





Republican senators who met with Trump on Tuesday said they did not settle on the size of a temporary payroll tax and did not decide whether it would apply to both employers and workers or how to offset substantial revenues that would no longer be paid to the Treasury. The group also briefly raised an evergreen idea to pour federal appropriations into the economy: infrastructure spending. The bipartisan concept has gone nowhere since 2017 (The Hill).


Cutting, waiving and temporarily altering the payroll tax has plenty of legislative history. When a payroll tax holiday was extended in 2012, the debate split House Democrats in leadership and did the same among House and Senate Republican leaders. When an economy is at near full employment, as in 2020, it is a less opportune time to turn to payroll tax holidays for stimulus because there’s less “bang for the buck” when most Americans are working, according to economists (Congressional Research Service).


At the White House on Tuesday, Trump economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE said he could not quantify the budgetary costs or potential benefits to the economy among the proposals Trump favors. “At some point in the near future we’ll outline a more detailed package for you,” he told reporters.


Kudlow noted, however, that Trump can use his executive and administrative authority to accomplish much of the stimulus he envisions, including help for small businesses and for workers, as well as tax-deferred benefits for industry sectors, that, based on the president’s remarks on Monday, may include airlines, cruise lines, farmers, manufacturers and the hotel industry.


Kudlow said Trump’s ideas are consistent with his overall goal of stimulating economic growth over the long term and lifting “tax burdens on the middle class.”


“I think we’re going to get a big growth kicker,” he added.


Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations during several dramatic financial crises, told Bloomberg News during an interview on Tuesday that the odds are 80 percent, in his view, that the U.S. economy falls into recession.


He said more than $500 billion in annual federal stimulus spending is needed by “the end of summer, [and] it wouldn’t surprise me if we need to escalate beyond that.” He called on the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and financial regulators, as well as the White House and Congress, to collaborate on “contingency planning” for what may be on the horizon.


Vice President Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, offered assurances again on Tuesday that the administration is tackling all angles of the coronavirus crisis.


“We’re going to work together to see our way through this,” he told reporters.


Anthony Fauci, the director of the government’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the recommended approach to mitigating community spread of the virus — transmissions that are most intense today in New York, Washington, California and Florida — could involve school closures or other recommended efforts to restrict large gatherings of people in an aggressive effort to get ahead of a roaring contagion. “Everything is on the table for consideration,” he said.


The Washington Post: The federal government is poised to test the limits of teleworking. Can a government with 2.1 million workers carry out its mission from kitchen tables? The administration is racing to develop contingency plans that would allow hundreds of thousands of employees to work remotely full time.


Pence, signaling a more muscular phase ahead in the battle against the virus, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish by today new recommendations “for what ought to be done” in regions with discernible confirmed cases of COVID-19 community spread.


This morning, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus stands at 29 among at least 1,039 confirmed cases, according to the latest information. Worldwide, 4,290 people have died from COVID-19. At least 119,357 confirmed cases have been reported in more than 115 nations.


The Hill: The United States cannot lock down millions of people the way China did in December and January, nor does it want to become the next Italy — a nation attempting to restrict the movements of its populace within its borders as the coronavirus death toll climbs.


The Hill: States are strengthening battles against COVID-19, taking new steps to protect health and economic security for vulnerable citizens and residents.


Over the top or overdue? New York, with 176 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection this morning, is sending the National Guard to help residents get food and supplies while in quarantine in New Rochelle as schools, churches and synagogues remain closed (The New York Times). 


Troubling eruptions of the virus are spreading on both U.S. coasts (The Associated Press). 


The Philadelphia Inquirer: New Jersey reports its first death, and Philadelphia warns against large gatherings after confirmed cases are reported.


The Washington Post: Why does COVID-19 spare most children? 


INTERNATIONAL: Italy experienced its first full day on lockdown on Tuesday as it labors with limited success to combat the spread of COVID-19. 


The Associated Press: Italy is rocked by a soaring number of deaths among an aging population.


The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Italy this morning soared to 10,149 and 631 people have died. The health crisis is battering the country’s economy — the third-largest of the 19 countries using the euro — and threatens instability worldwide.


Other nations shut down travel or moved to do so with the struggling Mediterranean nation. The Vatican also declared that St. Peter’s Basilica (seen below) will be closed to tourists until April 3 — when the lockdown is scheduled to be lifted (Vatican News). On Wednesday, Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope calls for cooperation on coronavirus vaccine development, international sharing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Congress close to deal on new coronavirus bill Pope calls for inequalities to be abolished after 'time of trial' MORE held his weekly general audience on Wednesday in his private audience at the Vatican rather than at St. Peter’s or the Vatican auditorium before thousands of people (The Associated Press).


Austria, which reports 206 COVID-19 cases, announced Tuesday that it is banning people who move through Italy from entering the nation, with exceptions for those holding a medical certificate (BBC). 


“The utmost priority is to prevent the spread and thus the importing of the illness into our society,” Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz said at a news conference (Reuters). 


Austrians who return home from Italy are asked to self-isolate for two weeks. 


Axios reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration considered taking similar action against travel from Italy and South Korea but decided against it because the virus’s spread happened too quickly to be contained. The United States also was concerned due to the large military presence it has in each country and the logistical problems a travel ban would present. 


CNN: Cities deserted, families separated and social life on hold in Italy's first day of lockdown.


The Associated Press: Virus lockdown tests Italians’ commitment to the common good.





In the United Kingdom, Health Minister Nadine Dorries announced that she tested positive for the virus and has been self-isolating at home since she found out. 


"Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice," she said in a statement. In total, there have been 373 confirmed cases and six deaths in the U.K.


The Associated Press: Tentacles of Olympic cancellation would reach around globe.


> Oil: The White House is considering federal assistance for the oil and gas industry as it looks to weather a dip in oil prices due to the coronavirus and disputes with Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Hill’s Rachel Frazin spoke to an administration official on Tuesday, who stressed that the situation is being monitored and that any assistance should not be considered a bailout. The Washington Post reported that the aid would likely be in the form of low-interest government loans to shale companies.


The plan came as Saudi Arabia announced that it would increase oil production, a direct response to Russia’s decision not to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries nations and cut production. 


Saudi Arabia’s decision also came after Trump spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. On Monday, the president tweeted Monday’s stock market losses were due to the oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with “Fake News” (The Hill). 


The Wall Street Journal: Inside Saudi Arabia’s decision to launch an oil-price war.


> Russia: Trump declined an invitation to visit Moscow for Russia’s Victory Day celebration in May, according to a senior administration official on Tuesday. The news came after a Kremlin spokesman told reporters earlier in the day that Trump would not be in attendance on May 9, with word coming down through  "diplomatic channels." 


Russia’s annual Victory Day parade commemorates the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. This year is the 75th anniversary (The Hill). 


The Hill: Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinIn a new cold war with China, America may need to befriend Russia Here's why reporters are not asking the White House about 'Obamagate' Postponed Russian World War II victory parade now set for June MORE supports legislation allowing him to run for fifth term.

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


How politics infected America's first epidemic and cost lives, by Jane Hampton Cook, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Why North Carolina is the state to watch this November, by B.J. Rudell, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


The House meets at 10 a.m. 


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m.


The president will meet with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBritain and Europe need to step up their support for Hong Kong Take China seriously, not literally Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death MORE at the White House at 12:15 p.m. Trump, the vice president and members of the Cabinet will meet at 3 p.m. at the White House with top executives from the nation’s leading banks to discuss the financial and economic shocks created by the spread of the coronavirus as well as proposed federal responses, including increased lending to small businesses (The New York Times). White House officials will also confer via teleconference today with representatives of the top tech companies related to the virus and misinformation online (The Hill). Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump: 'No reason for violence' in George Floyd protests CNN coronavirus town hall to feature science author David Quammen, 'Empire' actress Taraji Henson The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump teases social media executive order as a 'big day' for 'fairness' MORE will head to the official residence of the vice president and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Twitter says Trump violates rules with 'shooting' threat The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Crowds return during Memorial Day weekend MORE for dinner and return to the White House.


Pence will speak at the National League of Cities board of directors meeting at 11:15 a.m. in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. At 1 p.m., Pence will meet in the Roosevelt Room with hospital executives to discuss the COVID-19 emergency. At 3 p.m., he joins Trump in the Cabinet Room for a meeting with bank executives. An hour later, the vice president convenes a meeting of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the White House Situation Room, followed by a briefing for the press at 5:30 p.m. The Pences will host the Trumps for dinner at 7 p.m. at their residence.  


Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues On The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Schumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic' MORE at 10 a.m. will testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs about the president’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget and other matters.


Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. releases the consumer price index for February.


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Federal Reserve: The central bank’s next meeting is set for March 18, and Wall Street investors expect another interest rate cut by then, this one to 0 percent (Markets Insider). On Tuesday, Trump blamed the Fed for market volatility in a pair of tweets that numerous financial analysts assailed as incorrect and unhelpful. 


“Our pathetic, slow moving Federal Reserve, headed by Jay Powell, who raised rates too fast and lowered too late, should get our Fed Rate down to the levels of our competitor nations. They now have as much as a two point advantage, with even bigger currency help. Also, stimulate!” Trump wrote. “The Federal Reserve must be a leader, not a very late follower, which it has been!


Banking: Wells Fargo Chief Executive Charles Scharf sought to persuade lawmakers during a Tuesday hearing that he could fix the scandal-ridden bank after years of regulatory lapses, bipartisan outrage, and billions of dollars in fines and settlements. Scharf, the bank’s fourth CEO since 2016, told the House Financial Services Committee he wants to clean up Wells Fargo, which abused its customers and failed to abide by orders from federal regulators to overhaul its internal controls (The Hill). Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMcCarthy yanks endorsement of California candidate over social media posts Top bank regulator announces abrupt resignation GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday asked the Department of Justice to probe whether Scharf’s predecessor, Timothy Sloan, committed perjury during a hearing one year ago that examined Wells Fargo’s extensive oversight failures (The Hill). 


D.C. tourism: Some of the estimated 10,000 annual visitors to the nation’s capital each spring won’t be showing up because the coronavirus prompted cancellations of conferences that customarily attract large audiences (Reuters). Because of warm weather, the cherry blossoms may bloom earlier than usual this month. Those that find their way to the Tidal Basin to view the trees may find the annual Cherry Blossom Festival a lot less crowded (WTOP).


News media dinners off (and still on): As evidence that different decisions are being made in Washington about whether large annual events are prudent in light of the coronavirus, the invitation-only, largely off-the-record spring dinner with government VIPs thrown by the news media’s historic Gridiron Club and Foundation has been canceled (Politico). The televised dinner planned by the White House Correspondents’ Association for April 25 with comedians as headliners is still a go “as of now” (The Hill). 


And finally …  Are you feeling lucky and charitable? 


Billionaire art collector David Nahmad, 72, who lives in Monaco and owns about 300 of Pablo Picasso’s works, is preparing to part with a small still life, “Nature Morte,” created by the artist in 1921, when he was nearly 40, showing a newspaper and a glass of absinthe on a wood table. 


The painting, worth $1 million, will be raffled with fanfare on March 30 to benefit the charity CARE International. For a chance to own a Picasso for $113: 200,000 raffle tickets for sale online (The Associated Press).