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AT THIS HOUR

Dow Back In Negative Territory After Worst Day In 11 Years; Trump Pushes Payroll Tax Cut & Other Financial Relief; Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) Discusses Upcoming Super Tuesday II & Trump Administration's Response To Coronavirus, Endorsing Biden; Trump & Pence Speak With Insurance CEOs On Coronavirus Response & Alleviating Cost Impacts; Italy Locks Down Whole Country In Response To Outbreak. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 10, 2020 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[11:30:10]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Talk about whiplash. Stocks trying to rebound right now after the Dow's single biggest point drop in history yesterday. The index jumped 900 points at opened, but you can see it's back Down 36.

This comes on the heels of President Trump's surprise in the briefing room last night, to announce that they would be pushing new economic stimulus measures to give Americans impacted by the coronavirus some relief.

Is it going to work? Even before that, is Congress going to sign on?

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House with more on this.

Kaitlan, what is the president proposing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yesterday, the president really made it seem like this is his definitely plan. We've been told it's not so much that. But he is promising something dramatic.

And we know there's a lot on the table here. One of those is paid sick leave, tax cuts, targeted index for certain companies, airlines, cruises, hotels. All of them have been affected by people stopping traveling.

And it is notable that the president is sending two of his top economic aides to Capitol Hill today to talk to lawmakers, because they are admitting, yes, it is time we have to do something, after weeks the president was saying nothing needed to be changed, the U.S. economy was strong, it could weather anything being thrown at it like this.

Now they're saying that's not feasible anymore and we really have to do something to blunt the impact of the outbreak of coronavirus. The wall here, Kate, is going to be lawmakers, because, so far,

Democrats have been incredibly critical of the administration's response so far. And they have not been warm to the targeted areas like airlines, big corporations, of course. They instead have been focused on workers, who will have to miss work if they are self- quarantining. And Republicans also haven't committed to anything.

So we'll have a better idea once we hear what lawmakers are saying about this. It's far from definitive, like the president said, but they are sending aides. It's a sign they realize something needs to be done here.

BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, thank you so much.

Here with me now, CNN Chief Business Correspondent, Christine Romans, and Richard Quest, editor-at-large for CNN business.

Richard, yesterday, scared people. What are we looking at today?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN ANCHOR: The same thing. Nothing changed overnight, except things are very cheap and therefore, there would have been some people in other markets who thought we would have picked up U.S. stocks, some really good blue chips. And they're there. There are bargains there.

But the fundamentals didn't change and this has evaporated like scotch mist on a summer morning.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Lost on some people, but I know that means something.

(LAUGHTER)

Christine, then in response, you've got the president saying he's going to propose emergency measures.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BOLDUAN: You heard Kaitlyn on that. And then also this morning, he is back attacking the Federal Reserve.

ROMANS: This has been really remarkable. This morning, you saw some optimism that maybe the White House has a plan for stimulus, those things Kaitlin was talking about. You may finally see leadership, gravitas in the response from the government on this crisis.

But the president again trying to insult his way out of the coronavirus by attacking the Fed again in a couple of tweets that, really -- I'll be honest with you, not long after those tweets, the market started to turn low again.

The president saying he wants lower interest rates, wants more stimulus. And people in the market saying, if you want stimulus, Mr. President, why don't you drop the tariffs. Right away, you could inject some stimulus into the American business system. It's your own tariffs.

He makes it sound like it's only the Fed that's a problem here, not the coronavirus, not his response to the coronavirus, or his trade war that was last year and the year before.

QUEST: Can I just, on pure economics, let's stick to the facts. The president says the Fed should get down to levels of our competitors' nations. They now have as much as a two-point advantage with even bigger currency help.

The president seems to have failed to understand there's a direct relationship between interest rates and economies.

ROMANS: Yes.

QUEST: The U.S. has been doing exceptionally well because of its policies, in many cases. Therefore, the U.S. warranted and merited higher rates. The Europeans have a policy rate of zero to minus half a percent because their economy is in the toilet.

And the reality is, if the U.S. were to cut rates down to the European levels, there's no justification economically for during it.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: And it signals --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Exactly.

ROMANS: And it signals a sign of weakness.

BOLDUAN: But facts don't matter on Twitter. Facts don't' matter on Twitter because he is not seeing -- he is nervous about what he is seeing. He made these proposals that are going to get somewhere or nowhere on Capitol Hill> and then, in the meantime, he can go back to a tried-and-true practice, which is attacking the Democrats.

[11:34:59]

ROMANS: And maybe those proposals, if they happen, will prevent it from getting worse. We'll have a times that's difficult for the markets and the economy.

Time have shown us things will bounce back. This isn't a financial crisis. It's a public health crisis. And we know there will be another side of this. But the ripping and not realizing is a problem, I think. And I think the markets are telling us, that they want leadership, not just off the cuff.

QUEST: Let's call it what it is. There's no justification for negative interest rates in the United States at the moment. There's no plan in terms of a stimulus. They're arguing about, they're fiddling around with minor things like payroll tax cuts. The airline industry is in trouble. The cruise industry is on its

knees. And the stock market is pretty much telling us, and the bond market is telling us there's a recession on the way.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

QUEST: This is a moment where leadership is critical.

BOLDUAN: The airline industry. I want to focus on us that tomorrow so I hope your schedules allow.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, guys.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Super Tuesday, part II. Six more states, including the crucial battleground of Michigan, they have their say today. Is this a make-or-break moment for Bernie Sanders? Is this a make-or-break moment for Joe Biden?

We'll be right back.

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[11:41:00]

BOLDUAN: Today is a Tuesday in March, which means it's Super Tuesday. But it's also a first, even though it is the second Super Tuesday. The first time Democratic voters will essentially be faced with only two choices on the ballot.

Six states are voting in what's become a showdown between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. All states are important, of course, but for Sanders, it really could come down to Michigan.

It's the state with the most delegates up for grabs today, 125. It's a key state he won in 2016. It helped recharge his campaign then. What does this state mean for him and Joe Biden this time around?

Joining me right now, Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, from Michigan. She endorsed Joe Biden last week.

Thank you for coming in.

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Of course, happy to be here.

BOLDUAN: Lots to ask you about the election, but I do want to get your take first on the coronavirus. The new proposals coming from the president that he has laid out in some terms, I mean, it includes -- look, they're looking for something of a payroll tax cut, paid -- emergency paid sick leave. Is that legislation you think you can support?

SLOTKIN: We'll have to look at it. and I'm glad they're coming forward and having this conversation. It's been a little harder than I would have liked to get some action from the White House, so I'm glad they're doing this.

For me, it's about underlying confidence in the system. I think a lot of people I'm talking to really want a strong voice with clear guidance on what we need to do to protect ourselves and then what we're going to do to get our economy kind of in the place we need it to be.

I think we're missing a little bit of that voice, but it is about confidence.

If the health issue is what's underlying all this, we need any package we get put in front of us to get to that issue. If the CDC is putting out guidelines that people should stay home if they're sick, that they should avoid crowded places in some cases, we should give employees the opportunity to live up to those guidelines.

And the package in my mind has to get to that underlined sort of adherence to CDC guidelines.

BOLDUAN: A lot can come with that.

But also, in the time we have, let's talk about the big day today in Michigan. What do you think is going to happen today?

SLOTKIN: Well, the first thing we now know is absentee voting has risen precipitously. We made it easier to vote in Michigan, so the number of people voting absentee has skyrocketed.

We know some who voted absentee may have voted for someone who is no longer in. Over 30,000 people have come in and actually spoiled their old ballots and voted for the person that they now see on the ballot. We see great voter participation. Who knows?

The nice thing about Michigan is we are a state full of independently minded people. We always are sort of shaking things up, whether it's the primary or the general election. So the polls may say one thing, but until they close, for me, I'm going to sort of be waiting with bated breath.

I'm supporting Joe Biden, and I have my reasons for doing that. But I do want to acknowledge the supporters for the Sanders campaign have really energized the debate.

And I think that's an important thing that any candidate who wins this primary is going to have to acknowledge, that there's a level of enthusiasm on the ground that's stronger than we've seen in a very long time in Michigan.

BOLDUAN: As you mentioned, you endorsed Joe Biden last week. You were initially hesitant to come out and endorse before Michigan voters had their say, before the primary. What changed for you?

SLOTKIN: For me, if you think back 35 days or so, when we had Iowa and there was like 10 candidates in --

BOLDUAN: Yes. SLOTKIN: -- it's amazing how much it's changed in 35 days.

And for me, at the time, honestly, I just didn't think people were that concerned, frankly, about what their members of Congress were going to do in the primary. Then I just kept getting asked. I think there was an angst in the system about which way to go because we had so many candidates.

As it narrowed, I basically listened to my constituents and listened to what's important in my district, which is the focus on the issues.

[11:45:05]

I think Michiganders really want to hear people who will be practical and who will really get us out of this all-or-nothing politics that we find ourselves in right now.

Michiganders cannot stand that kind of vitriol. And want practical plans. That's what we have to do every day when we get up in the morning. We have to go to work and be practical for people.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, I have more questions, but I have to get to the White House.

The president and the vice president are speaking right now. They're meeting with health insurance CEOs at the White House. Let's listen in.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- beneficiaries, the coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered. These private insurance carriers have extended that as well.

They've also agreed to cover telemedicine so that anyone, particularly among the vulnerable senior population, would not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor. They'll know that telemedicine is covered.

These CEOs have also agreed to no surprise billing. We want people to get tested.

Over a million tests are out, thanks to the diligent work of the CDC and HHS. More than four million will go out this week. We worked with them to expand testing and that will increase by the day.

But we want the American people to know they are covered through private insurance, they are covered through Medicare or Medicaid, and there will be no surprise billing.

And finally, Mr. President, as you directed us yesterday, we produced helpful information for every American family, how to keep their home, their school, their business, their establishment safer from the spread of the coronavirus.

All of these major health insurance companies have agreed to convey all this information starting today to all of their customers as well as to send the CDC's guidance for seniors with underlying health conditions to give them specific recommendations.

And so as you requested us, and they've all agreed to work with us to communicate information directly to the American people.

Because as you said, Mr. President, while the risk to the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low, we want a full partnership with industry and give the American people all the information they need to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

And particularly, these companies are going to help us get information to seniors with underlying health conditions who really represent the most vulnerable populations of serious outcomes.

And I know I speak on behalf of the president when I say how grateful we are for the collaborative spirit and the generosity and the partnership represented by the great companies at this table.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's very true. And we are working very closely with the cruise line industry, and very, very closely, taking strong steps in terms of people going on and going off. But they are spending a lot of money and they are working very hard, and we're going to be helping that industry.

Likewise, with the airline industry. They're taking very, very strong steps for people coming into our country, even getting off the planes. So we are working very closely with them, we're helping them.

They're two great industries and we'll be helping them through this patch. And so far, I think it's been going very well.

You know all about the big ship that came in yesterday, and that's going along incredibly well. Working with the state of California successfully, very successfully, also with Canada and with the U.K.

The U.K. Is taking their citizens back and Canada, about 600 people are coming back. They're being met and brought to planes and being brought in a very dignified fashion back into Canada. So we appreciate all of the help we've had, and that's working out very well.

With that, I might just ask a couple folks if you'd like to make a statement on behalf of the industry, perhaps -- would you like to make a statement on behalf of the industry?

GAIL BOUDREAUX, PRESIDENT & CEO, ANTHEM: Sure. This is Gail Boudreau.

And one of the things I think is most important, from day one, as an industry and the company at Anthem, we have been very focused on ensuring access to care and that cost is not an issue for people to have the testing appropriately done. So we're pleased that we're able to continue to expand this access.

And as the president said, I think it's really important for all of our customers, our members of the American people to have this. So we are very supportive of the efforts underway.

TRUMP: I appreciate what you're doing. Thank you very much.

Anybody else? Would anybody else like to make a statement?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll say on behalf of the industry -- I represent the great companies around the table here, but then those that operate at a local level, that we all have the same commitment to making sure cost is not a barrier to people getting tested and treated.

[11:50:04]

We want to make sure we're focused on prevention, testing and treatment and getting that information out as and getting the information out as quickly as we can.

TRUMP; Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On behalf of the 36 Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans that ensure Americans, we are pleased to make sure people have access to the tests, to the coverage that they need.

I want you to know that the commitment we've made also apply to the federal employees programs ensuring five million people.

TRUMP: That's good.

Thank you all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to say, as a large service provider of Medicare, we are very aware of the aging population and, most importantly, have made it as easy as possible. And being able to get it in the home is a very important part of that. So we have tele- medicine at home, it reduced great barriers --

TRUMP: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to allowing them to do that.

TRUMP: We have a lot of people now taking advantage of that.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, thank you for having us.

We are working hard to protect the health work force. And we think it's essential to ensure that Americans have access to proper care. Putting people back to work. Testing of certain patients is a high priority for us. We serve somewhere around 18 million patients across America.

TRUMP: We thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, we appreciate your leadership and the vice president to work with the governors and we are keeping people and our state and fantastic. And we really appreciate also all of the cooperation of all of executives around the table to make sure that the people in my state and also across the country will be able to be tested and not worry about it.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Thank you very much, everybody.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: All right, there you go.

From the White House, the president speaking there and vice president speaking there with the CEOs of health insurance companies around the country and other industry leaders about the response of the coronavirus and what their commitments are and what they'll do to try to break down the barriers when it comes to costs and others -- and other barriers to getting people tested and then getting people the treatment that they need can come at an absorb exorbitant cost. We'll see.

We'll be back with much more.

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[11:57:32]

BOLDUAN: Italy is taking extreme steps in fighting the coronavirus, putting the entire country on lockdown. That means 60 million people not allowed to travel. Streets are deserted. Public gatherings are banned. Parts of the Vatican closed as well.

Italy's prime minister extended the red zone after initially ordering a lockdown of only the northern part of the country. Clearly, things have changed.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is live in Rome with the latest.

Delia, how are people reacting to this?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, I'm in one of Rome's residential neighborhoods. I want to give you a scene how Romans are living under this lockdown. This is normally a very busy area. We are in front of a popular restaurant, which will have to close at 6:00 tonight.

There are a handful of people walking around. Italians are allowed to go out. The government is encouraging them to stay indoors unless they have urgent work and health needs.

There are supermarkets and restaurants that are opened and Italians are free to go to them.

It is a big disruption for the lives of people across the country. But the government really placing the emphasis on trying not to go out of the region because they don't want contamination from region to region -- Kate? BOLDUAN: How is Italy enforcing the lockdown? It's one thing to tell

folks this but how they going to practically enforce this?

GALLAGHER: Obviously, really difficult. There are 60 million people in this country. The interior ministry says they are putting check points in train stations and on the highways.

But they're also emphasizing and they have fined, so and you will be fined some $234 dollars if you don't have good reasons to be moving around and up to three months in jail.

But they're putting emphasis on we don't want to fine people or give you jail time. We want to emphasize this is for your own good.

There's obviously a huge problem of contamination. And Italians are slowly realizing they have got to abide by these changes.

The message from the government is we are going to be doing checks but, of course, you yourself are telling the police officers that stops you your reason for reasons of going.

They are relying on Italians' common sense to tell the truth and stay- at-home if possible. And, frankly, most of everything is closed.

Only people that need to move for work are doing so at this point -- Kate?

[12:00:03]

BOLDUAN: This is the hardest-hit country in Europe with more than 9,000 people who have been infected by this, so far.

Delia, thank you very much.