HHS Secretary Alex Azar while President Trump looks on. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Drug companies spent $171.5 million lobbying Congress and the federal government last year, the most of any industry, reports The New York Times, per data by the Center for Responsive Politics. The companies and their allied trade groups also deployed 882 lobbyists last year, two-thirds of whom had previously worked for Congress or the federal government.

Why it matters: This spending could be a harbinger for a concerted industry effort to derail a plan by the Trump administration to crack down on soaring drug prices. As Axios' Bob Herman recently reported, pharmaceutical companies have hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs at rates that significantly outstrip inflation since President Trump came into office.

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Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 19,266,406 — Total deaths: 718,530 — Total recoveries — 11,671,253Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 4,928,802 — Total deaths: 161,052 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim watson/Getty Images

President Trump, speaking from a podium at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday announced that he is prepared to issue executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of 2020, and halting student loan interest and payments indefinitely.

Why it matters: The impending orders come after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon. But Trump said he remains committed to striking a deal with Congress on a broader stimulus package before signing the orders.