Feb 2, 2018

Gary Cohn announces promotions after tax cuts

Photo: Cheriss May / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Two staffers at the National Economic Council are getting promotions to the deputy director level in the wake of tax cuts becoming law, Gary Cohn told staff this morning.

Quick hits: Shahira Knight, a driving force on tax reform, will be deputy director for domestic policy, according to a White House official. Ashley Marquis, who was Cohn's chief of staff and is a Bush administration veteran, will be deputy for economic affairs. They join Everett Eissenstat, who is deputy for international affairs.

Big picture: The NEC has been a force in the administration, and sources throughout the White House describe the NEC as its biggest magnet for talent. These moves simultaneously reflect the void left by the departure of former Cohn deputy Jeremy Katz, whose exit has been a bigger blow than many realize, but also the deep bench he helped build in his tenure.

What comes next: Most people in the White House believe Cohn won’t stay for much longer. But Cohn himself rebutted that widespread view in a recent interview with Mike Allen.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."