Overnight Health Care: Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’ | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday

Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. President Trump is returning to in-person events, the stimulus talks are maybe sort-of alive again, and the CDC warns about the spread of the virus among young people. But we’ll start with Dr. Fauci weighing in on the White House.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Fauci: 'We had a superspreader event in the White House' | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday | Trump proposes a $1.8T relief package


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Overnight Health Care: Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’ | Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday | Trump proposes a $1.8T relief package

A stark assessment from Dr. Fauci: ‘We had a superspreader event in the White House’

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that there was a “superspreader event” at the White House, amid an outbreak of cases among the president and staff.

“Well, I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” Fauci told CBS News Radio.

His remarks came in response to a question about the lack of mask-wearing at the White House, and whether testing alone could stop the virus from spreading.

At least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.

Many of the individuals who have tested positive attended a Sept. 26 event at the White House where Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The event featured a crowd of people sitting close together in the White House Rose Garden, with many not wearing masks, as well as indoor activities.

Read more here.

And now, Trump to hold an in-person event on Saturday:

President Trump plans to hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday, an official confirmed to The Hill, his first public engagement since being diagnosed with the coronavirus last week.

ABC News, which first reported the plans, said that Trump would speak to an audience on the South Lawn from the balcony of the White House at an event being billed to invitees as “remarks to peaceful protesters for law and order.”

It is not clear how many individuals will attend the outdoor event. The setup suggests that Trump will not be close to any of his guests.

More on that here.

Even though the White House has repeatedly refused to disclose when Trump’s last negative test was, his doctor said he should be able to make a “safe return” to public events by Saturday. Read more on that here.

The latest in a dizzying series of turns on the stimulus talks: Trump proposes a $1.8T coronavirus relief package

Inching closer to Democrats’ demands, President Trump and his aides on Friday offered Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package, sources said, as the president urged the negotiators to “go big.”

The new figure was a jump from the White House’s $1.6 trillion offer last week, but there was no

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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent


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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.

We’ll start with Regeneron:

Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received

Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.

“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.

The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.

“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.

Read more here.

McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of how it has responded to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President Trump frequently, he hasn’t been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.

“Because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” he told reporters.

McConnell’s comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Senate doesn’t have a mask mandate, though most senators wear masks around the Capitol and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.

Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.

McConnell on Thursday appeared to take a veiled jab at the White

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Overnight Defense: Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed, ‘feeling really good’ after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows

Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Rebecca Kheel, and here’s your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.



a person driving a car: Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches


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Overnight Defense: Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed, ‘feeling really good’ after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches

THE TOPLINE: President Trump is expected to leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening after three days of treatment for COVID-19.

Trump, whose oxygen levels dropped as recently as Saturday and who is on several medications following his coronavirus diagnosis, tweeted that he is “feeling really good” and that Americans should not allow COVID-19 to “dominate your life,” downplaying a virus that has killed more than 210,000 people in the country.

“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good!” Trump tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Caveats: While Trump urged Americans not to be afraid of the virus, the president has access to medical resources unavailable to most in the country. For example, Trump was given an experimental Regeneron antibody cocktail under a compassionate use agreement that is not available to the public.

There is also the risk Trump could experience a setback while he receives treatment at the White House and have to return to the hospital, something that could be damaging for both his health and his re-election chances. Trump is 74 and overweight, putting him at higher risk for serious coronavirus complications.

What Trump’s doctors say: White House physician Sean Conley told reporters that Trump’s symptoms have continued to improve and that he has met or exceeded all discharge criteria. But he acknowledged that Trump may not yet be “out of the woods,” underscoring the degree of uncertainty surrounding his condition.

“Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all of our evaluations, and most importantly, his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home,” Conley said.

Trump’s doctors had told reporters on Sunday that he could be discharged as early as Monday as they painted a rosy portrait of his condition and recovery while continuing to evade some questions about his treatment and health. At the same time, the doctors also revealed that Trump had a high fever on Friday and experienced two transient drops in his oxygen levels on Friday and Saturday.

According to the medical team, the president is currently on multiple medications, including the antiviral medication remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone and the Regeneron antibody cocktail.

The president’s doctors said Monday that he would receive his fourth dose of remdesivir at the hospital and his fifth on Tuesday when he is back at the White House. They

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Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines

Welcome to Wednesday night’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re waiting to see if there’s going to be a deal on a new COVID-19 relief package.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was 'taken out of context' by Trump


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Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was ‘taken out of context’ by Trump

Top House Democrat: Parties ‘much closer’ to a COVID deal ‘than we’ve ever been’

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The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that the negotiators seeking an emergency coronavirus deal are “much closer” to a deal than they have been at any point during the long weeks of on-again-off-again talks.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pointed to comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicating a willingness to embrace $1.5 trillion in new stimulus spending – a number on par with the bipartisan relief package offered last week by the Problem Solvers Caucus – noting that that figure is far closer to the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion package than Republicans have previously backed.

After almost two months of stalled talks, Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have resumed the negotiations this week by phone. In some sign that progress is being made, Mnuchin met with Pelosi in the Speaker’s office on Wednesday afternoon.

Read more here.

House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses

An explosive staff report from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee found that the CEOs of Teva and Celgene raised drug prices exponentially for no reason other than to boost profits and inflate executives’ bonuses.

Oversight Democrats at a hearing on Wednesday pressed those CEOs, and put them on the defensive.

Highlights: Internal documents obtained by the committee found Celgene raised the price of the cancer drug Revlimid 22 times.

The drug, approved to treat the blood cancer multiple myeloma, more than tripled in price since its launch in 2005, driven almost exclusively by the need to meet company revenue targets and shareholder earnings goals.

In 2005, a monthly supply of Revlimid was priced at $4,515. Today, the same monthly supply is priced at $16,023, a cost of $719 per pill.

Easy target: The report found that executives at Celgene and Teva specifically targeted the U.S. market for massive increases because Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices.

Context: The Democratic-led report comes just weeks before Election Day, and follows a flurry of mostly empty last-ditch efforts by President Trump aimed at showing he is taking action on drug pricing. Trump has made lowering drug prices a key part of his messaging for years, dating back to the 2016 campaign, but has little to show for all his bluster.

Read more here.

Atlas, health officials feuds add to Trump coronavirus turmoil

The feuds between White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas and top public health officials are raising more questions about President Trump‘s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlas, a

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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.



a man wearing a suit and tie: OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report


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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report

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FILL-IN THE BERN: The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders.

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Putting Bernhardt at the helm of the agency appears to comply with the court order from Morris.

But critics say the move centralizes power for the agency in the highest political circles after relocating more than 200 Washington, D.C.,-based positions to Grand Junction, Colo., in order to bring employees closer to the lands they manage.

The move leaves just 61 BLM employees in Washington.

“Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to centralize final decision-making in Washington,

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Overnight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel

Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Rebecca Kheel, and here’s your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.



Chuck Schumer wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel | Trump leans into foreign policy in campaign's final stretch


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Overnight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel | Trump leans into foreign policy in campaign’s final stretch

THE TOPLINE: The House is back in session this week, joining the Senate, and funding the government before money runs out in a couple weeks is a top to-do item.

Congress is expected to pass a stopgap spending measure. But over the weekend, The Hill’s Jordain Carney looked at how Democrats are divided over how long the continuing resolution (CR) should last.

The November election is complicating the Democratic strategy in the looming government shutdown fight.

Feeling momentum as they aim to win back the Senate and the White House, Democrats are divided over whether to agree to the GOP-favored stopgap bill that lasts into December or push for a longer deal to fund the government into early 2021.

A shorter bill, supporters hope, would force Congress to reach a larger funding deal before the end of the year. But a bill that lasts into next year would take a lame duck shutdown fight off the table and give Democrats more leverage if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected president.

“We’ve gone back and forth, it’s a split decision in the caucus. If you can tell us what happens Nov. 3 it is a lot easier. … The uncertainty about the presidential election is an element,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said when asked about the length of a bill.

Neither Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nor Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) have publicly endorsed a timeline. A House Democratic aide noted that behind-the-scenes negotiations about what the strategy should be are ongoing.

Why it matters to defense: The Pentagon is no fan of CRs or shutdowns, warning that readiness is harmed by unpredictable funding.

Defense officials also often warn that the longer CRs go on the more damage is done to the military because the stopgap measures generally prohibit starting new programs or adjusting existing ones.

You’ll recall we reported last week that the administration asked for several exceptions to that rule, including flexibility to fund the Space Force, new submarines and a new nuclear warhead.

AFGHANISTAN DEVELOPMENTS: Much-delayed talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban started this weekend in Doha, Qatar, a historic development that is raising hope, however little, of ending two decades of war.

Back in the United States, a House panel said Monday it has secured an agreement for the Trump administration’s envoy to Afghan peace talks to testify before the committee after it issued a subpoena threat.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, will testify before the House Oversight and Reform National Security Subcommittee when he returns from his trip to Qatar, the

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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining

HAPPY TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.



a group of people on a sidewalk: Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs


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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs

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THE LEAD STORY: Top Interior Department officials misled Congress when they claimed high office rent in Washington, D.C., was a factor in the need to move the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to a new headquarters in Colorado, the agency’s internal watchdog found.

A report on Tuesday from Interior’s Office of Inspector General found that two officials overplayed the cost of BLM’s M Street SE lease near Nationals Park as a motivating factor in the move, as the agency already had plans underway to return to office space owned by the government.

Joseph Balash, a former assistant secretary for land and minerals management who now works in the oil industry, and BLM acting Director William Perry Pendley, whose tenure with the agency is the subject of a lawsuit, are implicated in the report.

Both men wrote in correspondence with Congress that BLM would be unable to stay in its existing M Street SE office because the cost would exceed the $50 per square foot limit set by the government.

The report found the claims were “misleading” and said that “the future lease cost of 20 M Street was irrelevant.”

Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move more than 200 of BLM’s D.C.-based employees to existing offices across the West, while putting nearly 25 of its top-ranking leaders at a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. The move would leave just 61 of BLM’s 10,000 employees in Washington.

The move was considered a victory for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is facing a tight reelection campaign, but it raised the eyebrows of former BLM employees, who questioned why the agency would leave such a small footprint in D.C. and set up shop in a town four hours from any major airport.

But well before Grand Junction was on the drawing board, BLM was already planning to leave its M Street SE space.

“When we got that lease it was a bargain,” said Steve Ellis, who retired from the highest-ranking career position within BLM in 2016.

“Since we moved people in there, Nationals Park popped up across the street, the area’s become much more popular and built up. That’s a good thing, but it meant the lease would be cost prohibitive when it ended, so we we’re looking around at options.”

Rather than pay more than $50 per square foot, the inspector general found evidence from both 2016 and 2017 that the department “had longstanding plans” to move BLM employees either to the Main Interior Building (MIB) or another federal

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