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Senate passes bill renewing FDA user fees

AP file photo

The Senate finally found an easy health care bill. It approved a bill this afternoon, 94-1, to reauthorize the user fees that help fund the Food and Drug Administration, one of the last actions it's expected to take before leaving for the August recess. The bill will help the agency collect fees from the drug and medical device industries, one of the main sources of funding for its oversight of the medical products.

Fast track: To speed the path to President Trump's desk, the Senate passed the House version of the bill so the two chambers wouldn't have to work out a final version.

Drug prices: The bill would try to take on rising drug prices by speeding the reviews of new generic drugs where there's not a lot of competition. The FDA would have eight months to review those applications. It's intended to prevent a repeat of situations like the one with Martin Shkreli, the so-called "pharma bro," who raised the price of a drug used by AIDS and cancer patients from $13.50 a pill to $750.

Mike Allen 4 hours ago
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A White House olive branch: no plan to fire Mueller

Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

After a weekend at war with the Mueller investigation, the White House is extending an olive branch. Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer handling the probe, plans to issue this statement:

“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Why it matters: The White House strategy had been to cooperate with Mueller. So this is an effort to turn down the temperature after a weekend of increasingly personal provocations aimed at the special counsel.

Jonathan Swan 6 hours ago
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Trump's trade plan that would blow up the WTO

President Trump announces tariffs on steel and aluminum earlier this month, flanked by Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Robert Lighthizer, and Peter Navarro. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

For months, President Donald Trump has been badgering his economic advisors to give him broad, unilateral authority to raise tariffs — a move that would all but break the World Trade Organization.

His favorite word: “reciprocal.” He’s always complaining to staff about the fact that the U.S. has much lower tariffs on some foreign goods than other countries have on the same American-made goods. The key example is cars: The European Union has a 10 percent tariff on all cars, including those manufactured in America, and China hits all foreign-made cars with 25 percent tariffs. But the U.S. only charges 2.5 percent for foreign cars we import.