Corona is on everyone’s mind, and it’s not the beer we are talking about.
The Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind around the world as some 109K+ have been confirmed and 3,800 people have died from the rapidly-spreading disease.
The U.S. has at least 539 cases across most of the states with 22 deaths reported. Last week Florida logged its first two infected patients with that number expected to rise in the coming days.
Florida has already reported two deaths related to the virus.
The disease has all-but united the divided U.S. Congress as lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Coronavirus-specific legislation that was quickly signed into law by President Donald Trump.
Vice President Mike Pence was at Port Everglades in Broward County with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to address media about the two reported cases in the county.
READ MORE about the U.S. Congress united against the Coronavirus.
Oh, yeah there are a couple of weeks left in Florida’s legislative session.
It appears as if teachers will be getting that pay hike Gov. DeSantis said he wanted to give them. Teachers could get as much as $600 million.
While DeSantis seems to be getting everything he wants, that isn’t the case when it comes to bringing in prescription drugs from Canada as the Florida legislature has only agreed on about the spending DeSantis wanted. Instead of getting the $20 million or so, DeSantis may have to settle for $10.3 million.
Stay tuned for changes on this. Also, considering how fluid these last two week have been historically, don’t count your legislative chickens yet…
The Florida House passed some “controversial” tax breaks for airlines…READ MORE
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“Bernie Sanders’ campaign dead on arrival in Florida” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – It’s fair to call Vice President Joe Biden the “Comeback Kid” after this campaign’s near-death encounter during the early stages of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. After Iowa and New Hampshire, it looked as if Biden was going to get shellacked on Super Tuesday, but a strong showing in South Carolina bolstered America’s favorite Democratic gaffester to a monster showing last Tuesday, besting then-frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders. If Biden wins his party’s nomination, he can thank many of his publicly elected amigos around the country, especially in Florida, where he is expected to win. South Florida will not vote for Sen. Sanders after his full-throated and unapologetic support for former Cuban Dictator and criminal, Fidel Castro. Biden can stick a fork in Sanders’ Lechon. It’s over in Florida. Florida’s primary is right around the corner and it seems as if Florida’s Democratic Party has come alive (relieved) now that Biden is surging. After all, Rep. Donna Shalala did say that Bernie Sanders was an “unacceptable candidate.” Rep Shalala is not the only Democratic member of Congress from Florida backing Biden. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demmings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Darren Soto, and Frederica Wilson, have all lent their support for the former vice president.
“Florida House Passes Controversial Tax Breaks for Airlines” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The Florida House announced this week that it had passed legislation that would provide a controversial tax break for airlines, which has incited a conversation between proponents and critics. The plan includes sales tax holidays that would benefit both school supplies and disaster preparedness products. However, it does include a controversial provision that gives airlines tax breaks on purchased fuel. Aviation is an important aspect of Florida, considering that more than 176 million passengers from around the world visited the sunshine state through one of the state’s airports last year. As a result, airlines argue the proposal is necessary because it encourages air carriers to provide Floridians with flight options. However, airport officials staunchly opposed further reductions to the aviation fuel tax, arguing that it will only reduce funds available to airports for critical infrastructure improvements. Proponents argue that Florida’s 129 public airports would benefit from revenue generated from the aviation fuel tax to fund improvements for both runways and terminals. In addition, they’re used to expand infrastructure, so they can also provide passengers with a broader range of options, enhancing critical security measures. On the contrary, detractors argue that it would only inject a vast amount of money into the pockets of airlines, doing nothing for Florida, its 21 million residents or the 3+ million people who are constantly flying through the airports every week.
“President Trump signs Coronavirus funding bill” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – After the U.S. Congress unanimously voted in favor of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, President Donald Trump has just signed it into law before heading down to Florida for the weekend. It’s rare to see members of the U.S. Congress finding common ground on just about anything these days, but in the case of the growing Coronavirus global outbreak, federally elected officials from both political parties are lock-step in addressing the virus. “I’m proud we’ve put politics aside and unified to combat this pandemic,” stated Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D).
“Florida Democrats Target Trump in new Billboard Campaign” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) has cemented himself as a frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination. However, as the future of the Affordable Care Act hangs on the balance of who wins the next presidential election, the conversation in South Florida has shifted to healthcare and what the best move forward would be for the sunshine state. At the end of last year, Democrats and Republicans fought over presenting a viable healthcare solution for the American people. Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) admitted that the ACA presented problem, arguing that “people can’t get appointments with their doctors, and when they do, their premiums are so high, their copayments are so high, their deductibles are so high, that they can’t afford it.” Instead, she says, “many people just wait, and then it’s too late.” As President Trump looks to visit Florida, Democrats are now slamming the President with a new campaign titled “Fight for Health Care Tour,” slamming Trump for his health care agenda. In billboard found on I-4, they argue that in “Trump’s America: the rich get richer” and “the sick get sicker.” The executive director of Florida’s Democratic Party, Juan Peñalosa, released a statement regarding the billboards, stating that “Trump is not working for people struggling to pay their medical bills, he’s working for big corporations trying to increase their profits.” He warned that “we can’t afford another four years of a president who prioritizes corporate interests over people with pre-existing conditions.”
“Bypass Bernie” sprints to Florida’s primary and past reporters” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – We all know the results from Super Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden won the night, but Sanders placed a respectable second place. Earlier that day, and for whatever reason, Sen. Bernie Sanders posted a video clip on Twitter of him running under the U.S. Capitol. Sanders accompanied the video with the statement, “It’s Super Tuesday and polls are open! Find your polling place and its hours here” linking back to his website. The video was a funny way of telling voters to hurry out and vote for him. Well, that’s all fine, but are you wondering what Sanders was running to in the first place? Only members of Congress and those with access and allowed to loiter in The Capitol, like us press folk, know what Sanders was running to, or who he was running away from. Those escalators are found in the train station on the Senate side under the Capitol. The trains shuttle Senators, staff, or anyone with the proper identification from the three Senate office buildings to the Capitol. Every day, reporters stand and wait for Senators to get off the trains to ask them questions, kind of like Grizzy Bears waiting for Salmon to jump upstream for their afternoon snack. You all have seen those images and videos.
“Nazi concentration camp guard caught, will be deported to Germany” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Former Nazi concentration camp guard, Freidrich Karl Berger, and now a former Tennessee resident, will be deported back to Germany to presumably face wartime charges for his role in the Nazi’s “Final Solution” plan during World War II. A Memphis immigration judge has ruled that the former concentration camp guard was to be sent back to Germany after it was discovered, and by his own admission, that he took part in the enslaving, torture, and eventual death of prisoners during the war. According to a Fox News report, “Friedrich Karl Berger worked at the Neuengamme sub-camp near Meppen, Germany, where Nazis imprisoned Jews, Poles, Russians, Danes, Latvians, Italians, and the Dutch and French as well as other political opponents, according to a ruling by U.S. Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt. Meppen prisoners were held during the winter of 1945 in “atrocious” conditions and were exploited for outdoor forced labor, working “to the point of exhaustion and death.” Berger himself had admitted that he guarded prisoners to throughout the day so they did not escape. Justice prevailed. Another Nazi is caught, but it doesn’t wash away the blood on his hands.
“Trump at Fox News Town Hall: ‘I was all set for Bernie’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump in his first town hall of the 2020 Presidential race said he was “all set” to go one-on-one against Sen. Bernie Sanders “the communist” in the general election, until former Vice President Joe Biden resurgence to the lead for the Democratic nomination. “I was all set for Bernie, because I thought it was going to happen,” Trump said in a Fox News Townhall held in Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa., Thursday evening. “We get ready for things, mentally I’m all set for Bernie, the communist, I had everything down. I was all set.” He added, “I don’t think I’m running against Bernie. I think it’s going to be very hard for Bernie to come back.” Biden is widely considered now as the Democratic front-runner following his strong showing winning 10 of the 14 states on Super Tuesday. “And then we have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday, which [Biden] thought was Thursday,” Trump said. “It looks like he’s going to be a candidate. How did that happen?” Trump on Thursday mocked Biden for his frequent gaffes, using examples of Biden pointing to the Democrat’s incorrect suggestion that 150 million Americans have been killed by gun violence since 2007 and that he was running for the U.S. Senate. “There’s something going on there,” Trump said.
“Rep. Biggs Introduces Resolution Condemning Schumer ‘Pay the Price’ Remarks” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Rep. Andy Biggs(R-AZ) introduced a resolution Thursday to condemn Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recent remarks towards U.S. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would “pay the price.” “Threats towards any elected or appointed member of the three branches of our constitutional government are wrong and cannot be tolerated. Minority Leader Schumer is the leader of his conference, and, while he may offer public criticism about decisions with which he disagrees, he should not use rhetoric that is threatening and intimidating towards members of our independent judiciary” Biggs said in a statement. “Even after he was called out by many of his own colleagues and the Chief Justice, Leader Schumer would not apologize for his threats. I am introducing this resolution today to send a message that this threatening rhetoric has no place in the U.S. Congress – especially from a leader of one of our parties. I hope my colleagues will join me on this resolution.” On Wednesday, Sen. Schumer spoke at an abortion rights rally outside the Supreme Court as the justices were hearing arguments over whether a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is constitutional. In his remarks, the Democratic leader warned that the two Trump-appointed conservative justices would “pay the price” for “awful decisions” if they vote to approve a Louisiana abortion law. “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said at the rally. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
“Romney: ‘Looking into Burisma and Hunter Biden Appears Political’” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said the GOP subpoena tied to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and Ukrainian gas company Burisma “appears political.” “There’s no question but that the appearance of looking into Burisma and Hunter Biden appears political, and I think people are tired of these kind of political investigations,” Romney told reporters. “I would hope that if there is something of significance that needs to be evaluated, that it would be done by perhaps the FBI or some other agency that is not as political or perhaps a committee of our body.” On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee said he is planning to force a committee vote next Wednesday on the first subpoena into his multi-pronged investigation. Part of his investigation is tied to Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma and if the work constituted a conflict of interest given the former Vice President work on Ukraine during the Obama administration. Johnson is looking to first subpoena Andrii Telizhenko, a former consultant for Blue Star Strategies, a U.S. firm that has ties to Burisma Holdings. In the letter sent to committee members, Telizhenko said he will “cooperate fully” but is limited by a nondisclosure agreement.
“Cuellar Defeats Progressive Challenger in Texas House Primary” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Rep. Henry Cuellar narrowly defeated progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros in a closely watched Texas’s 28th district, a disappointing loss for the progressive movement. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Cuellar was leading Cisneros by 51.9 percent to 48.2 percent. Cuellar, who was first elected in 2004, is regarded as one of the more conservative Democrats in the House defeated Cisneros by 2,756 votes. The Justice Democrats, the progressive group that backed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) insurgent bid in 2018, recruited Cisneros as a challenger to take on Cuellar. The group recruited Cisneros, ran a campaigning calling the Texas Congressman, “Trump’s favorite Democrat” after Cuellar voted with the president nearly 70% of the time during Trump’s first two years in office. Cisneros, who worked as an intern for Cuellar in 2014, scored a number of high profile endorsements from progressive stars of Ocasio-Cortez, as well as presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Cisneros was also endorsed by politically powerful groups of EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood. Democratic establishment figures including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) endorsed Cuellar, as well as U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the political network formed by the Koch brothers. Pelosi personally got involved in the race late last month when she visited Laredo, Texas.
“Bloomberg Drops Out, Endorses Biden” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg who spent half a billion into his Democratic presidential campaign announced that he is dropping out after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday and is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden. “Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump — because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult,” Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday morning. “After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists. But I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. Not for me, but for our country,” he added. Bloomberg added in the statement that he is endorsing Biden, saying he is “uniting behind” the former Vice President after sweeping nine of the 14 contest, including the rich delegate state of Texas on Tuesday. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,” Bloomberg said. “After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden. Today I am glad to endorse him — and I will work to make him the next President of the United States.” Minutes after Bloomberg’s announcement, Biden praised his rival on Twitter.
“Florida primary: Democrats outpaced Republicans in voter registration, but will they vote?” by Palm Beach Post’s Wendy Rhodes – A months-long effort by the Florida Democratic Party has resulted in Democrats registering 17,000 more voters than Republicans since the 2018 midterm elections. “This is the first time we’ve increased our margins over Republicans in nearly a decade,” said Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the state Democratic Party. “The fact that we’ve been able to close that gap and increase the margin speaks well for our effort and our opportunities moving forward.” With 219 delegates up for grabs, Florida is the biggest prize of the four March 17 primaries, when voters here as well as in Arizona, Ohio and Illinois will help decide if Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders is best positioned to upend President Donald Trump in November. Florida is a closed primary, meaning voters must vote for candidates in their party only. So the contest over voter registrations at this point speaks more to voter enthusiasm than muscle at the polls. “It’s a signal to the candidates that this is a place they need to visit, spend time in, and go after,” said Susan MacManus, a longtime political analyst and now professor emeritus at the University of South Florida. “Come on down.” Florida Democratic Party officials say they are looking for a solid turnout on March 17. They plan to continue to door-knock, mobilize neighborhood teams and keep up their current pace of registering almost 500 new voters each day. And while the focus of election politics is Florida’s primary later this month, the competition between the parties for new voters is being fought with an eye toward November.
“AFL-CIO presidential forum in Florida with Sanders, Biden canceled over coronavirus” by Tampa Bay Times’ Josh Fiallo – A presidential forum that was set to feature Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden was canceled by the AFL-CIO on Saturday over fears from Florida’s coronavirus outbreak. The event was scheduled to be in Orlando on March 12, just five days before Florida’s presidential primary. The forum is the first major political event to be canceled in Florida due to the virus. It also comes a day after the Florida Department of Health announced two deaths in Florida from coronavirus — one each in Santa Rosa County and Lee County. The Orlando event was going to be hosted by AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the U.S. No coronavirus cases have been announced in the Orlando area specifically, but conventions have still been postponed and canceled within the past week. Among the cancellations are Workday and McDonald’s franchisee events, as well as a global health conference where President Donald Trump was expected to attend. Trump was supposed to deliver a speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s conference on Monday at the Orange County Convention Center. The cancellation won’t keep the president out of Florida, though, as he is still scheduled to attend a high-dollar fundraiser on Monday in Seminole County. Biden’s campaign said Sunday it does not know when exactly the former vice president will return to Florida. He does, however, have events planned in South Florida this week with former Secretary of State John Kerry. Biden is the clear front-runner in the state. The former vice president is riding a wave of momentum following a week of endorsements and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropping out of the race. Florida and its 219 Democratic delegates could be the deciding factor in who wins the Democratic nomination, and Biden leads by at least 25 points in every major poll conducted in the state.
“Florida Woman Changed Voters’ Party Affiliations, Officials Say” by New York Times’ Michael Levenson – A Florida woman was charged on Thursday after officials said she filled out 10 voter registration forms with false information, at least six of which enrolled Democratic and independent voters in the Republican Party without their consent. The woman, Cheryl A. Hall, 63, of Clermont, Fla., worked for Florida First, a voter registration group heavily funded by America First Policies, which supports President Trump. America First Policies announced plans last year to spend more than $20 million on voter registration efforts in at least four battleground states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Alan Hays, the supervisor of elections in Lake County, Fla., near Orlando, said that although Ms. Hall was charged with submitting 10 false voter registration forms, he believes she might have submitted another 109 forms with false information. Some forms submitted by Florida First contained faulty information in handwriting that did not match Ms. Hall’s, he said, leading him to believe that others at the organization might have also falsified voter information. Mr. Hays said he could not speculate on Ms. Hall’s motive, and was continuing to investigate to ensure the integrity of the county’s voter registration system. Florida holds its presidential primary on March 17, and Lake County began early voting on Thursday. “It has absolutely nothing to do with party politics,” said Mr. Hays, a Republican. “If you’re misbehaving, I’m going to call you on it.” Mr. Hays said the false information came to his attention after three voters contacted his office late last month, complaining that they had received cards stating that their party registration had been changed, even though they had never made such a change.
“NEW: Coronavirus: 2 Florida patients die; 2 new cases in Broward County” by Hannah Morse and Wayne Washington – Two Florida patients who contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) have died and two new presumptive positive cases have been identified in Broward County, the Florida Department of Health announced late Friday. One of the dead was a previously announced COVID-19 patient in Santa Rosa County. The other was a person in their 70s from Lee County who was not previously announced. That patient was recently on an international trip. The two new Broward County cases bring the coronavirus as close to Palm Beach County as it’s ever been since the virus spread. The new presumptive positive cases in Broward include a 75-year old male who is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The other is a 65-year old man who is also isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The Florida Department of Health said it is working closely with the patients, potential close contacts of each case and health care. First responders and health care officials told members of Congress they don’t have enough masks and aren’t clear on what protocols they should follow to combat the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County health director, sought to assuage fears about the pandemic, appearing at a pair of forums in West Palm Beach where she was joined by Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch. providers “to isolate and monitor persons who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and implement testing of anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms.”
“White House submits $1.25 billion emergency request as part of $2.5 billion coronavirus effort” by CNN’s Phil Mattingly – The White House has requested $1.25 billion in emergency funding to address the novel coronavirus, part of an effort to direct as much as $2.5 billion in total funds to bolster its response to the growing global crisis, according to a letter obtained by CNN. “To this point, no agency has been inhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities,” Russell Vought, the acting director at the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in the letter to lawmakers requesting the funds. “However, much is still unknown about the virus and the disease it causes.” In total, Vought wrote, the administration expects “to allocate at least $2.5 billion in total resources” for the response effort. Much of that support would come from shifting funds already appropriated to other government agencies toward the effort. Lawmakers said they were preparing for the administration’s request to reach Capitol Hill, even as the final numbers were still in flux in advance of the letter sent Monday evening. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, told reporters Monday that his staff had been in discussions with the White House about the looming request.
The news comes on the eve of a briefing Tuesday morning on the coronavirus for all senators in a classified setting, two sources with knowledge of the plans tell CNN. Along with the $1.25 billion emergency funding request, the White House requested that an additional $535 million in emergency funding previously appropriated for the prevention and treatment of Ebola be redirected toward the effort to counter coronavirus.
“Dow plunges 1,000 points, posting its worst day in two years as coronavirus fears spike” by CNN’s Rob McLean, Laura He and Anneken Tappe – Stock markets plunged around the world Monday after the number of coronavirus cases surged in Italy and South Korea, putting two more major economies at risk from a virus that has already caused widespread disruption in China. The Dow (INDU) closed 1,032 points, or 3.6%, lower, marking its worst day in two years, when it closed down more than 1,000 points twice within a week as inflation fears gripped Wall Street. On February 5 and again on February 8, 2018, the Dow’s percentage drop was more than 4% on both days. Since the index is higher now, on a percentage basis Monday’s selloff isn’t as dramatic as other drops in the Dow’s history. Still, it was only the third time in history that the index closed more than 1,000 lower. It is now in the red for the year and at its lowest point total since December 11. The S&P 500 (SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) also fell sharply. The S&P ended down 3.4%, while the Nasdaq dropped 3.7%. The VIX (VIX), a measure of market volatility, shot up more than 46%. The declines in the United States follow steep losses in Asia and Europe on Monday as investors take in the risks to corporate profits and economic growth posed by the coronavirus’ spread. South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI) index closed down nearly 3.9%, its worst day since October 2018, after coronavirus cases in the country surged past 800. Italy’s main index finished down 5.4%, after the number of cases there topped 200 — including five deaths — and authorities started shutting down public buildings, schools and sports events in parts of the country.
“Federal appeals court allows abortion-referral restriction to go into effect” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly – A block on clinics in the federally funded Title X family planning program referring patients to abortion providers will take effect as challenges play out in the lower courts, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday in a win for the Trump administration. Lower courts have consistently opposed the Department of Health and Human Services’ desire to block referrals, and reproductive rights groups have pushed back against the so-called “gag rule,” arguing that it has already harmed low-income women. The rule was challenged in federal courts in California, Oregon and Washington state last year, all of which blocked it. But the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that HHS is within its rights to modify the program.
“The Final Rule is not arbitrary and capricious because HHS properly examined the relevant considerations and gave reasonable explanations,” the court ruled. But Circuit Judge Richard Paez wrote a fiery counterpoint to the ruling, citing the district judges’ rulings in a dissent joined by three of the other 9th Circuit judges. “In vacating the district courts’ preliminary injunctions, the majority sanctions the agency’s gross overreach and puts its own policy preferences before the law,” Paez wrote. “Women and their families will suffer for it. I strongly dissent.” The appeals court has repeatedly given the rule the green light, upholding it in June, July and August. Planned Parenthood, a key provider that covered 40% of the Title X program’s participants, opted to withdraw from the program after the 9th Circuit ruled last August that the regulations could go into effect.
“Bernie Sanders reveals ‘major plans’ to be funded in part by new taxes, lawsuits” by Fox News’ Gregg Re – Bernie Sanders unexpectedly released a fact-sheet Monday night explaining that he’d pay for his sweeping new government programs through new taxes and massive lawsuits, as well as by slashing spending on the military, among other methods. The move sought to head off complaints from Republicans and some rival Democrats that his plans were economically unrealistic, especially after a head-turning CBS News interview in which the frustrated Vermont senator said he couldn’t “rattle off to you every nickle and every dime” about his proposed expenditures. He released his plan on his website just minutes after abruptly promising to do so during a CNN town hall. However, the fact-sheet highlighted for the first time that many of Sanders’ expected cost-saving measures relied heavily on conjecture. For example, Sanders’ document asserts matter-of-factly that a “modest tax on Wall Street speculation … will raise an estimated $2.4 trillion over ten years” and, in one fell swoop, make all “public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free … and cancel all student debt over the next decade.” Housing for everyone would cost $2.5 trillion over ten years, and would be paid entirely by a “wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent,” raising a total of $4.35 trillion. Similarly, “universal childcare and pre-school to every family in America” would be provided with a wealth tax on the “top 0.1 percent,” again raising more than $4 trillion. Sanders’ plan did not discuss the possible stock market ramificiations of a major seizure of some of this wealth, much of which is held in markets and other investments. The plan also did not discuss how the government would be able to reliably obtain the money, given that many investments could easily be liquidated or transferred elsewhere.
“In Supreme Court dissent, Thomas cites Thomas in arguing to overturn decision authored by Thomas” by Fox News’ Tyler Olson – Even by Supreme Court standards, this development takes a minute to wrap your head around. In a dissent to the high court’s decision Monday not to hear a tax case, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas managed to cite an opinion that he wrote while making the case for why the tribunal should overturn a precedent he authored. The case the court turned back, Baldwin v. United States, involves a couple who sued the IRS to recover their tax return, claiming that the agency changed its rules after they mailed their forms and after the federal courts interpreted a rule that applied to the couple’s return. The case would rest on the controversial Chevron deference, a doctrine holding that the federal courts will “adopt an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute if that interpretation … is ‘reasonable'” and a case called Brand X, the majority opinion for which Thomas authored. Brand X established that courts must accept a federal agency’s interpretation of a law even if the court has already ruled on that law, saying that such a stance “follows from Chevron.” Thomas wrote Monday that he is no longer so sure he was right in Brand X or the court itself was right in Chevron. “Although I authored Brand X, ‘it is never too late to ‘surrende[r] former views to a better considered position,'” Thomas wrote in his Monday dissent, quoting himself from a 2018 opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Thomas has recently been quite vocal in advocating for the court to overturn a variety of precedents, saying in one opinion last year that when “faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it.”
“Bloomberg’s debate strategy: Nuke Bernie” by Politico’s Sally Goldenberg – Mike Bloomberg and a handful of staffers spent Monday at the so-called “happiest place on earth,” preparing for the bruising task ahead the next day. Hunkered down at the Four Seasons hotel in Florida’s Disney World, the former New York mayor prepared for a mission to salvage his half-billion-dollar investment in the presidential race with a debate performance designed to quiet the critics and stall frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ momentum. After a disastrous first outing — his net favorability rating dropped 20 points in the aftermath, according to Morning Consult — Bloomberg’s debate goals in the Charleston, S.C., debate are twofold: Persuade viewers that Sanders is too divisive to defeat President Donald Trump in November, while sidestepping landmines surrounding complaints from women at his private media company and his race-based policing practices as mayor. “The debate tomorrow night and the campaign in general … needs to be about one candidate and that’s Bernie Sanders,” Dan Kanninen, a top strategist overseeing Bloomberg’s states operation, said in a conference call with reporters Monday morning. “We’ve been saying for some time that the nature of this contest means someone with even a small plurality of delegates can come away with an outsize and disproportionate delegate lead.” When asked about the former mayor’s rusty debate performance last week in Las Vegas — when he was skewered by Elizabeth Warren over the particulars of legal complaints women filed about the workplace culture he fostered at his private media company — Kanninen said Bloomberg “left that debate so much stronger in the second half, as he got his feet underneath him.”
“Judge sets hearing on Roger Stone’s new-trial motion” by Politico’s Josh Gerstein – A judge has scheduled a pair of hearings for Tuesday in longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone’s criminal case, as she considers how to resolve a motion Stone’s defense filed seeking a new trial based on alleged misconduct by one of the jurors in his case. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who sentenced Stone last week to more than three years in prison for impeding official investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race, said in a brief order Monday that she plans to take up the juror-focused motion behind closed doors in her Washington courtroom at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The court has kept the details of Stone’s motion under wraps since it was filed more than a week ago, but Jackson’s order Monday revealed that Stone’s defense recently moved to open the related court filings and any planned hearing to the public. Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said she’ll hold an open court session half an hour before the scheduled closed one to discuss whether the public should have access to the arguments about the juror. The defense motion is believed to refer to a woman who has identified herself as the foreperson of the jury at Stone’s weeklong trial last November, Tomeka Hart. Hart is an attorney who formerly served on the Memphis school board and mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in Tennessee’s 9th District in 2012. Hart ignored reporters inquiries at the conclusion of the trial, but after the four prosecutors who handled Stone’s trial quit two weeks ago amid a furor over an intervention in the case by Attorney General Bill Barr, Hart posted a message on Facebook acknowledging her role and defending the prosecution team.
“Supreme Court to Consider Religious Rights Case Involving Same-Sex Couples” by WSJ’s Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall – The Supreme Court will consider whether the Constitution allows a Catholic organization to reject same-sex couples as foster parents in a city-funded child-welfare program, despite a local ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The case—a potential watershed for religious rights—pits the city of Philadelphia against Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that has been placing foster children in homes since 1919. The city suspended referrals to the organization after learning it wouldn’t consider same-sex couples, and it declined to renew its contract after it expired. Catholic Social Services sued, contending that the constitutional guarantee of religious exercise prohibited the city from imposing the nondiscrimination requirement on its foster-care contracts. “I’m relieved to hear that the Supreme Court will weigh in on faith-based adoption and foster care,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, a religious-rights advocacy group that represents Catholic Social Services. “We are confident that the court will realize that the best solution is the one that has worked in Philadelphia for a century—all hands on deck for foster kids.” Philadelphia’s chief legal officer, City Solicitor Marcel Pratt, said the case “is ultimately about serving the youth in our care, and the best way to do that is by upholding our sincere commitment to the dignity of all people, including our LGBTQ community.” More broadly, Monday’s announcement signals another step for the court’s conservative majority in re-examining the boundaries between church and state that some justices say improperly curtail many Americans’ religious exercise. While some religious-exercise decisions in recent years have been based on federal statutes that Congress is free to review, the Philadelphia case potentially holds even broader significance as it is based on constitutional provisions that can’t be amended by lawmakers.
“No, Bernie Sanders is not ‘the unity candidate’” by Washington Examiner’s Kaylee McGhee – Can a self-proclaimed socialist win the moderates and independents necessary to beat President Trump? Bernie Sanders’s supporters seem to think so. Indeed, some have even taken to calling Sanders “the unity candidate.” Sanders’s sweeping victory in Nevada, combined with his win in New Hampshire and his tie in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, proves that his campaign has built a grassroots coalition of young and minority voters. But Sanders is still a controversial pick, even among Democratic voters eager to see Trump defeated. Nevada’s largest union, for example, openly opposed Sanders ahead of the caucus, arguing that his radical “Medicare for all” proposal would hurt union workers more than it would help them. And many more Democrats, most of whom happen to fall under Sanders’s “establishment” label, are in fits at the idea of a Sanders/Trump cage match. Longtime Democratic strategist James Carville declared this weekend that those who argue Sanders will “galvanize sleepy parts of the electorate” are political “fool[s].” Others have rightly pointed out that Sanders might hate the establishment, but his 30-year congressional career has yielded few results compared to other Democrats willing to work within the system. These are important concerns, and Sanders’s base should address them rather than casually dismiss them as outdated complaints oozing from politicos who fear change. Because the fact is, there are plenty of people in this country who fear the change Sanders is proposing. His policies are arguably the most radical of any presidential candidate — from “Medicare for all,” to an outright ban on fracking, to wealth and corporate taxes. Sanders won’t moderate these positions, which means the Nevada Culinary Union’s opposition to Sanders is just the beginning of the backlash he will face.
“If ‘Zombie Biden’ stays in race, it’s curtains for mainstream Democratic Party: Chris Stirewalt” by Fox News’ Matt London – Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt said moderate Democrats are concerned that a “zombie Biden” may spoil their last, best chance to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., from becoming their party’s next nominee for president of the United States. Nevada Democrats will hold their caucuses on Saturday and Sanders is leading the field of candidates by double-digits, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polling in the state. However, one national frontrunner is not even under consideration in the Silver State. “The whole thing is weird because the person who’s in second place nationally isn’t on the ballot,” said Stirewalt on Fox Nation’s “What Are The Odds?” “Mike Bloomberg… is the leading contender right now for the establishment or normal lane of the Democratic Party, the mainstream Democrat candidate, he’s the frontrunner.” According to Stirewalt, if Sanders wins in Nevada by a wide margin, he will be well-positioned to eventually claim the party’s nomination. “That sets Bernie up for his ongoing, stretch run to Super Tuesday and to soak up hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of delegates and get to the place where… nobody’s going to catch him in. The best you can hope to do is force a contested convention.” But there’s another bad potential outcome in Nevada for establishment Democrats — a seemingly respectable finish by the troubled Joe Biden campaign. “If Biden does OK in Nevada and he’s the second-place finisher. … and goes on to South Carolina… if he does OK in these states,” Stirewalt argued, “the possibility of stopping Bernie Sanders goes to basically zero for Democrats.”
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump – Cryin’ Chuck Schumer said, “You will pay the price for this. You won’t know what HIT YOU.” That is far beyond simple rhetoric. That is a physical threat, or at least a threat that you better vote for us.” Trouble ahead!
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi – Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe. The President’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.
Within 72 hours industry will provide a plan on to:
– enhance screening
– testing onboard
– have pre-existing plan to for onshore medical care,quarantine & monitoring
! Today we celebrate the many incredible women in history who have shaped and continue to shape the great state of Florida.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP – Yesterday, the Trump admin said cruise travel was fine. Today, the exact opposite. SoFL families, thousands of jobs & our economy rely on the cruise industry. We can’t afford to hear conflicting messages.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets – 55 years ago, on what would come to be known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ brave marchers including my dear friend and colleague, @RepJohnLewis, marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, walking 52 miles to fight for voting rights for African Americans.
Rep. Matt Gaetzv@RepMattGaetz – I’m extremely saddened to learn of the first fatality in our district from coronavirus, a Northwest Floridian residing in Santa Rosa County. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.
RepRossSpano @RepRossSpano -What a great surprise!! It’s because of men and women like James Ring who have answered the call to serve and the sacrifices that their families make, that I am honored to live in America. From one parent to another, thank you James! #FL15
Rep. Donna E. Shalala @RepShalala – One year ago, we passed #HR1 to end the dominance of big money in politics, restore ethics and accountability, and protect the right to vote. @HouseDemocrats are committed to ending corruption and it’s time for @senatemajldr to allow a vote on this important bill.
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB – On #InternationalWomensDay, and throughout the month of March, we celebrate and honor all the women across the globe that are breaking barriers and reaching unprecedented heights in every field. Their work and contributions must never go unnoticed.
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch – On this weekend 55 years ago, nonviolent civil rights activists were unjustly attacked as they marched against segregation and voter suppression. We honor their sacrifice and recommit ourselves to their fight for equality.