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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.

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Military members will be included in Biden's new COVID guidance

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Members of the military will be required to get vaccinations or face regular testing, social distancing, mask mandates and restrictions on travel for work, the the Pentagon said on Thursday evening.

Why it matters: The policy was announced for federal workers and onsite contractors earlier on Thursday, part of several new Biden initiatives to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Trump's Republican critics rake in cash

Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger during the first Jan. 6 hearing. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Republican critics of Donald Trump have raked in campaign cash this year as their votes to impeach the former president and investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have put them in the crosshairs of Trump and his allies.

Why it matters: The 2022 midterms won't just determine which party controls Congress. They're also shaping up to be a test of Trump's continued hold on the GOP. The few remaining Republican dissenters in Washington need to put up big fundraising numbers if they hope to stave off a purge.

The Republicans' mixed mandate message

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans have expressed selective rage amid the rise of the Delta variant: They rail against the return of indoor masking but are far less vocal about vaccine requirements.

Why it matters: Masking may help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but the real solution to the pandemic is getting more Americans vaccinated. Increased support for that — including the use of heavier-handed methods like mandates — will only increase its chance of succeeding.

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