Feb 10, 2017

Senate confirms Tom Price as HHS Secretary

(Andrew Harnik / AP)

The Senate voted 52-47 to confirm Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services early Friday morning. No Democrats joined Republicans in supporting his nomination.

In the hours leading up to the 1:45 a.m. vote, the two parties seemed to be describing two different candidates. Republicans heaped praise on Price, with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch declaring him an "exceptional nominee" in a floor speech. Democrats described an ethically questionable candidate who will wreak havoc on the health care system. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer referred to Price's previous support of partially privatizing Medicare:

The war on seniors by the Trump Administration begins when we confirm Rep. Price. — Chuck Schumer

What comes next: Republicans have repeatedly said their Obamacare repeal plans will move forward once Price is confirmed. President Trump has said an Obamacare replacement plan will be put forth at that time. Now, we'll see whether those legislative plans materialize and what Price begins to do to the health care law administratively.

Go deeper

Federal Reserve: Coronavirus poses "evolving risk" to the economy

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell took the rare move Friday of issuing a statement meant to reassure investors, one that opened the door to a possible interest rate cut.

Why it matters: The Fed rarely issues statements like this outside of policy meetings and scheduled public appearances. It came as the stock market continues its steep decline this week. Stocks briefly pared some losses after the 2:30 p.m. EST statement came out.

Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy