Healthcare – Democrats ramp up pressure over COVID impasse

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Senate Majority Leader in Healthcare today Karl Schumer (DN.Y.) is under mounting pressure to get COVID relief funds on the ballot.

And tonight a judge blocked lifting of border restrictions implicated in the COVID funding debate, but it’s unclear if that will help get rid of the funds.

Welcome to overnight health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news affecting your health. For The Hill we are Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forwarded this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

Dems urge Schumer for COVID relief

A growing number of Senate Democrats say they are prepared to take a hard vote on an amendment to uphold the Title 42 health regulation at the US-Mexico border if it’s needed to stop a stalled COVID-19 -postpone aid package.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) has kept the bill off the floor because Republicans insist on voting on a bipartisan amendment to overturn the Biden administration’s decision to repeal Title 42, a pandemic regulation that Thousands of immigrants prevented from entering the country, overriding the country’s asylum applications.

But a growing number of senior Democrats say they are ready to vote on the change to break the deadlock on new money for therapeutics, vaccines and tests at a time when new coronavirus variants are leading to a spike in infections and deaths across the country .

Without yielding to Republican calls for a vote on the hot topic of border security, COVID-19 relief could stall until after November’s midterm elections.

The amendment is expected to fail, but it’s a tough vote for vulnerable Senate Democrats.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), whose seat is a top Republican target, says Congress needs to do more for COVID-19 relief and he’s not afraid of a hard vote, though he won’t say just yet how he would vote on Title 42 amendment.

“I’m concerned about future variants and how bad this could get and I think we need to do more to ensure we’re prepared,” he said.

Read more here.


A federal judge in Louisiana on Friday temporarily barred the Biden administration from ending Title 42, the Trump-era border management policy that allowed officials to quickly expel foreigners at the border amid pandemic conditions.

The policy was due to end Monday as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to restructure border and immigration policies following the Trump administration’s overhaul of the system.

U.S. District Court Robert Summerhays granted a statewide injunction to a group of GOP attorneys general challenging the policy change. Appointed by former President Trump, Summerhays ruled that the Biden administration cannot reverse the policy while the broader legal challenge is fought out in court.

Summerhays ruled that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) abusively bypassed a process to allow public input before issuing an order ending the program.

The White House and CDC did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Read more here.

Pelosi barred from communion over abortion rights

The Archbishop of San Francisco banned the speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) before receiving communion for her support for abortion rights and access.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a letter to Pelosi on Thursday that he asked to speak to her after she promised Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case after Texas banned abortions after six weeks last September.

He warned Pelosi in an April 7 letter, he said, to either refuse to advocate for abortion rights or not to publicly refer to her Catholic faith, or he would have no choice but to refuse her admission to Communion .

“Since you have not publicly denied your position on abortion and continue to invoke your Catholic faith to justify your position and receive Holy Communion, that time is now,” Cordileone said in Thursday’s letter.

“Therefore, given my responsibility as Archbishop of San Francisco to ‘see to all entrusted Christians’ [my] care” (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1) I hereby inform you that you must not appear for Holy Communion and, if you do, you will not be granted Holy Communion until you have expressed your commitment to the legality of abortion publicly reject and confess this grave sin in the sacrament of penance and receive absolution.”

Pelosi, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, has defended her support for abortion rights despite the Catholic Church’s anti-abortion stance.

“I believe that God gave us free will to carry out our responsibilities,” Pelosi said at a news conference last September, noting that she is a mother of five.

Read more here.


A resolution introduced by Republicans in both houses of Congress on Thursday would define words like “woman,” “man,” “mother,” and “father” on the basis of biological sex, a rebuke for transgender people, and measures for inclusion.

Republicans call the measure “women’s rights,” arguing that defining women based on sex is necessary to protect women’s rights in spaces such as domestic violence centers, sports, locker rooms and bathrooms.

“Democrats are wiping out women and the spaces that are only ours,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who is leading the House version of the bill, said at a press conference sharing the bill Thursday with the Republican Study was announced committee, the largest conservative faction in the House of Representatives.

The resolution, which would not have the force of law, states that the House believes that “sex” for federal purposes refers to biological sex; Terms such as “mother” and “father” refer to persons of the female and male gender respectively; and that authorities are required to base reported data on individuals’ sex at birth.

The House version of the resolution has 11 co-sponsors and was promoted by the Republican Study Committee. The Senate version was introduced by GOP Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mo.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), and Ted Cruz (Texas).

Read more here.


The Philadelphia School District announced Friday that it will reinstate a universal mask mandate effective Monday, May 23, based on the current escalation in COVID-19 cases in the city, following the recommendation of the Philadelphia Department of Health.

“Until further notice, all students and school district staff are required to wear their masks during the school and work day and while riding school buses and vans,” school district superintendent William Hite wrote in the announcement.

Philadelphia County saw its average daily cases rise 58 percent over the past two weeks, and the city’s hospitalizations are up 29 percent over the same period, according to the New York Times.

Over 77 percent of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated, with more than 34 percent having received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 94 percent of all residents age 12 and older having received at least one dose, according to the city’s data.

Among children ages 5 to 11 in Philadelphia, about 36 percent have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more here.

CDC: 1 new death from unexplained pediatric hepatitis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday confirmed one possible new death from unexplained cases of pediatric hepatitis detected in the US and Europe.

The latest death, reported Thursday, brings the potential US death toll to six from the five reported by the CDC earlier this month.

During a news conference, a CDC official said seven percent of the 180 cases reported so far have occurred in the past two weeks. The majority of cases were discovered afterwards, and most children diagnosed with hepatitis have since recovered.

A common link that could link all of these cases has not been found, according to the agency.

According to officials, they still have not been able to determine whether the cases they have detected over the past seven months represent a pre-existing trend that is being noticed right now, or whether they represent an increase in pediatric hepatitis.

During the briefing, officials reiterated that a possible link to adenovirus remains the “leading hypothesis” behind the possible cause of these hepatitis cases.

Read more here.


  • Vague exceptions to ‘medical emergencies’ in abortion laws put pregnant people at risk, doctors say (Stat)
  • African scientists baffled by monkeypox cases in Europe and US (AP)
  • Abbott completes recall of US-imported baby food products in India (Reuters)


  • Former GA Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine faces charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud (WSB-TV)
  • Less deadly than Delta? In some states, Omicron caused more deaths (NBC News)
  • Possible case of monkeypox reported in New York City, Health Department says (WPIX)

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and reports. Until next week.


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