Sam Baker Aug 3
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Senate votes to let dying patients try unproven treatments

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The Senate has passed Sen. Ron Johnson's "right to try" bill, which would expand terminally ill patients' access to treatments that haven't yet been approved by the FDA. The bill passed by unanimous consent, and should help clear the way to vote on a larger FDA bill before senators break for the August recess.

Why it matters: On its face, right-to-try sounds simple enough: Why not let patients who are already dying, who have already tried everything else, take a shot at an unproven therapy? But the risk with unproven drugs isn't only that they might be ineffective — they also can carry side effects that might make patients' suffering worse. Regulators have also worried about maintaining the integrity of controlled clinical trials.

To address some of those concerns, the Senate bill says the FDA can't use data from right-to-try patients in its product reviews. The bill also wouldn't force drug makers to make their unproven products available — it simply says the federal government can't stand in the way of that transaction.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 3 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.