Senate confirms Azar as HHS secretary

Azar at his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing earlier this month. Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via Getty

The Department of Health and Human Services is about to have a permanent leader for the first time since September. The Senate has confirmed Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, to be the next HHS secretary. He'll replace Tom Price, who resigned in September under heavy criticism for his frequent use of private planes.

What's next: He's not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, so don't expect HHS to enforce it more enthusiastically now that Price is gone. Don't look for an aggressive crackdown on rising drug prices, either. But Azar may be more open to other health care policies that Price opposed, like mandatory pilot programs, as Axios' Sam Baker has pointed out.

What's next

⚖️ Live updates: Opening arguments begin in Trump impeachment trial

The second day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump will see a full day of opening arguments from Democratic House impeachment managers.

What to watch for: Democrats now have 24 hours — spread out over three days — to take their time to lay out their case against the president's alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It'll also allow them to highlight gaps that could be filled out by additional witnesses and documents from the administration.

This post will be updated with new developments as the trial continues.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020 - Politics

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America's homelessness crisis isn't going away

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the opioid epidemic was the top issue plaguing American cities in the last five years, the most urgent problem of the next five is homelessness, a group of American mayors told reporters in D.C. this week.

Why it matters: Homelessness in the U.S. was on the decline after 2010, but it started to increase again in 2016 — and without moves to address the affordable housing crisis driving the issue, we can expect it to keep getting worse, experts say.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Cities