Your guide to the latest Hill developments, news narratives, and media headlines from Hogan Lovells Government Relations and Public Affairs practice.
- The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it supports a proposal to waive international patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement that the "extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures." The U.S. will negotiate over the waiver’s language at World Trade Organization (WTO) talks.
- President Biden on Tuesday set a national goal to administer at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine to 70 percent of U.S. adults by July 4, as the country moves to vaccinate harder-to-reach Americans. Biden, speaking at the White House, also set a goal to fully vaccinate 160 million adults by Independence Day. Among other measures, the administration will direct pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program to offer walk-in vaccinations without an appointment. Additionally, vaccine doses will be sent directly to rural health clinics.
- A federal judge in Washington, DC on Wednesday vacated a nationwide freeze on evictions instituted to keep cash-strapped renters housed during the pandemic. Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, ruled that the ban exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s statutory authority. Friedrich indicated her ruling’s reach would be nationwide. Housing advocates have charged President Biden with not enforcing the ban amid widespread flouting.
- The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a joint initiative on Wednesday to promote vaccination in vaccine-hesitant communities. The initiative will focus on in-person education and vaccine promotion. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge offered churches, community centers, and playgrounds as examples of places where workers may address residents’ concerns.
- On Tuesday, Pfizer said it expects to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for children between ages 2 and 11 in September.
- President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Tuesday that new data suggests that COVID-19 vaccines provide better protection against new viral variants than previously being infected with COVID-19. People who've had prior infections saw their immune response to COVID-19 drastically improve after receiving mRNA vaccines. "Vaccines, actually, at least with regard to SARS-CoV-2 [the coronavirus] can do better than nature," Fauci, said.
- On Wednesday, the FDA released a new report titled “ “Resiliency Roadmap for FDA Inspectional Oversight,” outlining the agency’s inspectional activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report shows that the pandemic will prevent the FDA from conducting at least half of its planned inspections of medical products during the current fiscal year. The report also details the agency’s plan to move toward a more consistent state of operations, including the FDA’s priorities related to this work going forward.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) confirmed Tuesday that its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a nearly $1 trillion small business rescue loan fund, has run out of money ahead of its scheduled expiration at the end of this month. The SBA will continue to fund outstanding approved PPP applications from other lenders and accept new applications only from community financial institutions, of which $8 billion in funding was set aside since they typically assist minority borrowers.
- SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced Wednesday that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund they launched on May 3 has already received over 186,000 applications from restaurants and other food and beverage businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The $28.6 billion program, signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan, provides economic aid to restaurants and other establishments struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic.
In the News:
- A record 3,376,000 Americans died last year, 18 percent more than the year before, according to the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. More people died than were born in 25 states last year. That’s five times as many states as experienced a net decline in 2019. While the record high U.S. population would be expected to yield correspondingly high numbers of deaths, experts attribute the unusual 18 percent spike to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The number of new people born in the United States has dropped to its lowest point in more than four decades, a decline attributable to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession. Just 3.6 million babies were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Marianas Islands in 2020, according to provisional data released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. That’s a four percent drop from 2019. It is the sixth straight year of birth declines.
- Police in San Francisco arrested a man suspected of stabbing two Asian women - one 65 and the other 85 years old - at a bus stop in the California city on Tuesday. The attack comes as the U.S. grapples with an uptick in anti-Asian violence across the country. Officials did not immediately confirm charges against the man or his possible motive. Both women were hospitalized and are in stable condition.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will soon open new sections for fully vaccinated fans while unvaccinated fans will still have to sit six feet apart. The stadiums will offer unvaccinated attendees the opportunity to get the vaccine and a free game ticket.