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(Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee used a drug user fee reauthorization markup as a platform for discussing bigger health care fights, including prescription drug prices and the GOP's health reform effort. And yes, they approved the bill to renew the user fees that help fund the Food and Drug Administration — so relax, FDA.

Read on for the highlights.

  • The user fee bill passed 21-2.
  • A bipartisan amendment focused on increasing generic drug competition, authored by Sens. Susan Collins and Al Franken, also passed unanimously.
  • An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders that would allow drugs to be imported from Canada was tabled after extensive debate throughout the hearing.
  • Some Democrats made personal appeals to Chairman Lamar Alexander to include them in health reform efforts. Franken, a Democrat, said problems with Affordable Care Act exchanges and prescription drug costs are "the two glaring issues" facing the committee. "You have been someone who believes in working in a bipartisan way to solve problems," Franken said directly to Alexander. "If we do not have an overall working health care system in which to do these things, much of the discussion today is irrelevant," said Sen. Maggie Hassan, after discussing the opioid crisis and prescription drug costs.

Go deeper

29 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Why fears of a SPAC bubble may be overblown

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The SPAC surge continues unabated, with 10 new ones formed since Wednesday morning. And that's OK.

Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.