Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- The Supreme Court announced Monday it will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act sometime next term, presumably after the presidential election. It will be the third time the Court has heard a significant challenge to the law that impacts millions.
- FEMA is preparing for President Trump to potentially make an emergency declaration regarding the coronavirus outbreak. The agency is readying itself in case Trump makes an “infectious disease emergency declaration,” which would allow states and local governments to receive disaster relief funding and federal assistance to combat the virus
- U.S. labs will have enough materials on hand by the end of this week to perform “close to 1 million” coronavirus tests, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said at a White House briefing Monday evening.
That estimate far exceeds the number of tests that several labs told POLITICO they will actually be able to run each day. Under ideal conditions, the nation’s public health labs could run up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of the week, according to figures provided by the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated Monday that he has not decided whether he will support Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe’s nomination to be the next director of national intelligence.
- President Trump on Monday officially nominated Kenneth Braithwaite, his current ambassador to Norway, to serve as secretary of the Navy.
- The White House has formally withdrawn its nomination for Elaine McCusker for
Pentagon budget chief after the nominee questioned President Trump’s hold on Ukraine military aid that was at the center of the president’s impeachment.
- Days into President Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban, there are already signs of trouble. The Afghan government is rejecting a prisoner swap with the Taliban that the deal says is supposed to precede negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said Monday it was done abiding by a partial truce, something the United States had said it expected the insurgents to continue honoring through talks between the two Afghan sides.
- A motorcycle bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan killed three and injured 11 as the Taliban announced an end to a partial truce Monday after earlier agreeing to a week long “reduction of violence” before signing a peace agreement with the U.S.
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said he has given the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan his approval to begin removing American forces from the country.
Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, “has my OK, approval” to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops from 12,000 down to roughly 8,600.
- President Trump has nominated Gen. Charles Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff, setting Brown up to be the nation’s first African American military service chief, the Pentagon announced Monday. If confirmed, Brown would also be the first African American to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Colin Powell was chairman from 1989 to 1993.
- The Pentagon is pitching in on work to develop a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus, the military’s top uniformed official said on Monday.
“Our military research labs are working feverishly around the horn here to try to come up with a vaccine. So we’ll see how that develops over the next couple of months,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at the Pentagon.
It’s expected to take a year to 18 months to have a fully effective and accessible COVID-19 vaccine, according to top U.S. health officials.
- The Trump administration’s plans for addressing vehicle emissions may not be as good for society as an Obama administration rule, according to a review released Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) independent science board.
The analysis from the Science Advisory Board (SAB) found “significant weaknesses in the scientific analysis” of the 2018 Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles rule.
- The Federal Reserve is under pressure from Wall Street to cut interest rates as the financial sector braces for the unknown economic toll of the coronavirus and after markets suffered a week long free fall.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a Friday statement that the central bank “will use our tools and act as appropriate” to protect the economy, evoking the Fed’s 2019 pledge to cut interest rates across three consecutive meetings.