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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump will direct the Department of Health and Human Services later today to declare "a nationwide public health emergency" in response to the opioid epidemic, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on a call.

Between the lines: The declaration will not unlock new federal funds to address opioid abuse. Instead, the administration will work with Congress on an end-of-year budget deal and talk about securing more money at some point in the future. The declaration will last 90 days and can be renewed every 90 days if necessary.

The administration officials said that the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by Chris Christie, suggested HHS declare a "public health emergency" instead of a "national emergency," which Trump told Fox News' Lou Dobbs just yesterday he would do. "Next week, I'm going to declare an emergency, national emergency on drugs," Trump said.

What a "public health emergency" declaration will do, per senior admin officials:
  • Expand access to telemedicine services. This will allow people to make temporary appointments with specialists (among federal and state workers) who can be deployed to address the opioid crisis under this declaration in rural areas.
  • Department of Labor can issue grants to provide displaced workers with new opportunities via worker displacement programs.
  • Certain HIV/AIDS programs will shift funds to provide more substance abuse treatment to people who are already elegiible for these programs.

The administration officials wouldn't say how much money they hope to secure from Congress to fight the opioid crisis.

Go deeper

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

Lawmakers hide behind AG's investigation as Cuomo lingers

A billboard outside Albany, N.Y. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is politically wounded but not yet dead, several state lawmakers tell Axios.

The state of play: Most are holding their fire and punting to state Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations. They expect the inquiry to be credible and thorough — and buy Cuomo badly needed breathing room.