Health Care — Dems separate Ukraine aid from COVID-19 funds
In a show of solidarity with Ukraine, U2’s Bono and The Edge on Sunday performed inside a Kyiv metro station-turned bomb shelter.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats’ offer on Ukraine aid does not contain the $10 billion in COVID funding that’s been stalled for months, throwing further doubt on the future of the package.
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Dems de-link Ukraine aid from COVID-19 money
Democrats are moving quickly to pass nearly $40 billion in new Ukraine aid, which will not be linked to a stalled coronavirus package.
Democrats are proposing nearly $40 billion in new assistance, above the roughly $33 billion requested by the Biden administration. The extra funding from Congress would include an additional $3.4 billion for both military and humanitarian assistance in addition to the money requested by the White House, two sources confirmed to The Hill.
The proposal could be on the House floor as soon as Tuesday, one source told The Hill. Whether it could also pass the Senate by the end of the week depends on if all 100 senators could work out a time agreement and when the House sends over the legislation.
The Ukraine aid will not be attached to a $10 billion coronavirus assistance package, a source confirmed. That package has been stuck for weeks in the Senate because Republicans are demanding an amendment vote to prevent the administration from lifting a Trump-era border health policy.
Democrats had eyed linking the two and the idea had support from both Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House. But Republicans had vowed to block the Ukraine package if the COVID funds were attached.
Retailers limiting baby formula as shortage worsens
Several major retailers — including Walgreens, CVS, Target and Costco — are rationing the purchase of baby formula amid an ongoing national shortage.
“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country,” a Walgreens spokesperson told The Hill.
“Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” the Walgreens statement added.
CVS similarly said it would limit baby formula sales to three units per purchase, both in stores and online.
A custom analysis by Datasembly, a retail software company, found out-of-stock percentage for baby formula nationwide jumped from 31 percent to 40 percent in the past two weeks.
Retail experts said the volatility is likely due to supply chain disruptions and inflation, and a recall of formula manufactured by Abbott Nutrition and the continued shutdown of an Abbott plant in Michigan— which was one of the largest formula manufacturers in the country— has exacerbated the shortages.
POLICE ID AMERICANS WHO MYSTERIOUSLY DIED IN BAHAMAS
The Royal Bahamian Police Force (RBPF) on Monday identified three Americans who mysteriously died at an island resort over the weekend.
Commissioner Paul Rolle said Tennessee couple Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, were among the victims who died at the Sandals Resort on the island of Exuma.
A third man, Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida, was the third tourist who died at the resort, Rolle said at a news conference.
Donnis Chiarella, 65, the wife of Vincent Chiarella, was identified as a fourth victim who was airlifted to a hospital in Miami where she is recovering.
Rolle said authorities are working with a toxicology lab in Pennsylvania to expedite the testing of samples to determine the cause of the tourist’s deaths, while forensic scientists had collected additional samples from the villas for analysis.
The tourists were found dead inside separate villas on Friday morning. They all appeared to die from an illness, as there was no indication of physical trauma, police reported. Foul play is not suspected.
COVID cases climb after White House media dinner
COVID-19 cases among attendees at the White House correspondents’ dinner last weekend are mounting, highlighting the continued threat of the virus as cases rise nationally.
High-profile cases following the dinner include ABC reporter Jonathan Karl, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and reporters from The Washington Post, Voice of America and other outlets.
There is no exact count, and it is not clear which dinner attendees contracted the virus at the dinner itself as opposed to the many parties last weekend surrounding it.
But the string of reported cases does emphasize the point that even as the country seeks to move on from the virus, large indoor gatherings do carry some risk.
The cases have also played into an ongoing debate, with some arguing that the current era of COVID-19 allows vaccinated and boosted people to decide to attend large gatherings even if it means a small risk, while others are more cautious, pointing to the downstream effects on other people of increased transmission.
SUSAN RICE LATEST OFFICIAL TO TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice said Monday that she tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest person in President Biden’s orbit to do so.
“This morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” Rice tweeted. “I’m feeling fine and grateful to be vaccinated and double boosted. I last saw the President in person on Wednesday—masked—and under CDC guidance he is not considered a close contact.”
Rice is among a handful of Biden administration officials and members of the media who have tested positive since the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner at the end of April. It’s unclear when or where she contracted the virus.
Most Biden administration officials, like Rice, are vaccinated and boosted and have reported experiencing mild or no systems when they test positive. Still, the recent cases underscore the enduring threat from the virus.
Biden is tested regularly, and those who come into contact with him are also tested out of an abundance of caution.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Covid shots made Moderna biotech’s biggest star, but what now? (The Boston Globe)
- National addiction treatment locator has outdated data and other critical flaws (Kaiser Health News)
- COVID vaccine makers shift focus to boosters (Reuters)
STATE BY STATE
- The families of trans kids in Texas consider their options amid crackdown on care (Kaiser Health News)
- Police investigate possible arson at anti-abortion organization in Madison (Wisconsin Public Radio)
- Transgender treatment, doctors threatened by new Alabama law (AP)
OP-EDS IN THE HILL
- Can China’s zero-COVID policy succeed?
- Democrats’ drug pricing plan is the wrong prescription for inflation
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.
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