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News Wrap: Biden says Cuomo should resign, supports changing Senate filibuster rule

In our news wrap Wednesday, President Joe Biden said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign after facing a string of sexual misconduct allegations. Biden for the first time also expressed support to change the Senate filibuster rule. Also, the Federal Reserve said it will keep key interest rates near zero through 2023, and the Internal Revenue Service extended the tax filing deadline to May 17.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: President Biden says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should step down if an investigation confirms allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

    The president spoke during an interview with ABC News that aired this morning. He was asked if Cuomo should resign.

  • Pres. Joe Biden:

    Yes. I think he will probably end up being prosecuted too.

    A woman should be presumed to — telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward, number one. But there should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true. That's what's going on now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Biden also conceded that it will be tough to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline that was agreed to by the Trump administration.

    And for the first time, the president also voiced support for changing the Senate's filibuster rule to require lawmakers to talk on the floor if they want to hold up a bill.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had warned of a — quote — "scorched earth" if Democrats end the filibuster.

    Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas today refused to characterize the influx of migrant children into the U.S. as a crisis. Testifying before a House hearing, Mayorkas instead said that term — that a term more applicable to the Trump administration's family separation policy.

    We will get a Republican perspective on immigration from Wyoming Senator John Barrasso after the news summary.

    The Federal Reserve today said it will keep its key interest rate near zero through 2023.

    In Washington, Chairman Jerome Powell that he remained hopeful that the economy will accelerate this year.

  • Jerome Powell:

    We do expect that we will begin to make faster progress on both spending and — labor markets and inflation as the year goes on because of the progress with the vaccines, because of the fiscal support that we're getting. We expect that to happen, but we will have to see it first.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, the IRS is extending its deadline to file federal taxes until May 17. That is to give Americans more time during the pandemic.

    Stocks climbed higher on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 189 points to close at 33015. The Nasdaq rose 53 points, and the S&P 500 added 11.

    The U.S. has sanctioned 24 more Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the continued crackdown on political freedoms in the semiautonomous city. That comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet his Chinese counterpart for the first time tomorrow in Alaska, after visiting U.S. allies in Asia.

    The U.S. Senate today unanimously confirmed Katherine Tai to be the country's top trade negotiator. She is the first Asian American and the first woman of color to serve in the position. Tai has pledged to hold China accountable for its actions and to protect American jobs.

    The U.S. Senate also began discussing legislation that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act narrowly passed the House last month. In a Senate hearing, transgender teen Stella Keating spoke virtually on its potential impact.

  • Stella Keating:

    Less than half of the states in our country provide equal protection for me under the law. What happens if I want to attend college in a state that doesn't protect me?

    Right now, I could be denied medical care or be evicted for simply being transgender in many states. How is that even right? How is that even American?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Republican opponents argue the measure would unnecessarily curb religious liberties. Its fate in the Senate remains unclear.

    In California, organizers seeking to recall Governor Gavin Newsom face a deadline today to submit 1.5 million petition signatures to get their proposal on the ballot. The Democratic governor's popularity has fallen as some Californians remain outraged over his handling of the pandemic.

    And three passings to note tonight.

    The president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has died. The East African country's vice president said he died of heart failure. He was a prominent COVID-19 skeptic and had not been seen in public since the end of February, sparking rumors that he'd contracted COVID. John Magufuli was 61 years old.

    Conductor James Levine, the longtime leader of the New York Metropolitan Opera, who was fired over sex abuse allegations, has also died. His physician said he died of natural causes on March 9 in Palm Springs, California. Levine was the driving force at the Met for more than 40 years. Here he is in 2011 conducting Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

    (MUSIC)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Levine was fired in 2018 after an internal investigation uncovered evidence of decades of sexual abuse and harassment of younger men. James Levine was 77 years old.

    And Dick Hoyt, the father who for decades pushed his quadriplegic son in a wheelchair through the Boston Marathon, has died. The duo had their final finish together in 2014, after completing 32 Boston Marathons and participating in over 1,000 races. Dick Hoyt was 80 years old.

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