Your guide to the latest Hill developments, news narratives, and media headlines provided by the Hogan Lovells Government Relations and Public Affairs team.
- Sens. Ben Cardin (R-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a letter from a group of 31 senators calling on Senate leadership to include an international response to COVID-19 in the next coronavirus package. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70 percent of the world remains underprepared to prevent, detect, and respond to a public health emergency. Furthermore, over three dozen countries – including Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen – could experience famines in 2020.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, yesterday said states needed to pause reopening efforts. “Rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process,” he told The Hill. Fauci’s comment differs from the previous one he made a day earlier in a Wall Street Journal interview when he said states “should consider” shutdowns.
- Almost 100 members of Congress are demanding the Trump administration halt its order to deport any international students whose coursework is being moved completely online, according to a letter led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to the heads of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE. “This new policy would effectively punish international students at colleges, universities, and other institutions that have decided to move their courses online in order to protect their communities from COVID-19,” the letter said.
- On July 21, the five executives of the leading coronavirus vaccine developers, all of which are participating in the U.S. government Operation Warp Speed project, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that it will be offering aid to producers of more than 40 new fruits, vegetables, herbs, roots, and commodities through the $16B Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that Congress authorized.
- Seven Senate Democrats on Thursday wrote a letter to the acting Comptroller of the Currency (OOC) Brian Brooks saying the regulator mischaracterized federal law when it asserted in an official document that it can preempt a number of state coronavirus relief measures in the interest of uniform standards for banks, according to POLITICO. Led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the agency must issue a determination of federal preemption on a case-by-case basis, not categorically.
- On July 9, former Vice President Joe Biden laid out how his administration plans to handle the coronavirus and the resulting beleaguered U.S. economy. His plans include “multiple scenarios” on a COVID-19 vaccine, federal guidance, and bolstering the U.S. supply chain of critical goods and PPE needed to combat the virus. Biden also introduced a $700 billion plan to revive the U.S. economy that emphasizes job creation and U.S. manufacturing.
- CNN is reporting that President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci are not speaking to each other despite the current pandemic. “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” Trump said this week. Dr. Fauci was also told not to attend this week’s past coronavirus task force meeting and sources say that Trump and Fauci haven’t spoken in over two weeks. “I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things,” Fauci told the Financial Times this week.
In the News:
- Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottleib told CNBC on Friday that he believes there continues to be a significant number of unreported coronavirus cases in the U.S., suggesting as many as 1 in 150 people in the country could be infected.
- The WHO yesterday unveiled new guidelines on the spreading of the novel coronavirus that acknowledge some reports of airborne transmission of the virus, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air in such cases as choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes.
- Stocks rose midday Friday after news of a potential coronavirus treatment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 200 points higher, or 0.8 percent. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, trading just below the flatline.
- Gilead Sciences announced new findings Friday that its antiviral drug remdesivir reduced the risk of death for severely sick coronavirus patients by 62 percent compared with standard care alone. The company said its analysis also found that treatment was associated with “significantly improved clinical recovery.” The findings are being presented at the Virtual COVID-19 Conference as part of the 23rd International AIDS Conference, the company said.
- The U.S. reported a daily record of 65,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It’s the second time this week the U.S. topped its record for new infections reported in a 24-hour period as outbreaks expand across a number of states, mostly across the American South and West.
- The volume of loans in active forbearance, in which borrowers are allowed to delay their monthly payments, fell by 435,000 from the previous week, the largest one-week drop yet, according to mortgage data firm Black Knight. That is the largest one-week drop yet. Roughly 4.14 million loans were in forbearance, representing 7.8 percent of all active mortgages, down from 8.6 percent the prior week.
- German biotech firm BioNTech SE that has partnered with Pfizer Inc. to develop a coronavirus vaccine is confident it will be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of the year, according to its chief executive. Several hundred million doses could be produced even before approval, and over 1 billion by the end of 2021, CEO Dr. Ugur Sahin told The Wall Street Journal.
- California Xavier Becerra announced it will be the first state to challenge the Trump administration’s decision to bar international students from remaining in the U.S. if their coursework is provided entirely online when classes resume in the fall. The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new visa policy issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A new study says the world’s top brands, such as L’Oréal, Dell, Bloomberg News, Microsoft, and Merck Group, are unwittingly funneling their advertising spending to websites that traffic in COVID-19 disinformation.