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Jul 16, 2014

U.S. lawmakers cite ‘dangerous pattern’ of lapses at CDC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday there was evidence of a “dangerous pattern” of safety lapses at government laboratories dealing with dangerous pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu that required a change in culture at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cited new information on breaches previously unreported by CDC, which is under scrutiny for the potential exposure of more than 80 lab workers to live anthrax bacteria in June. Their comments, made at a hearing on Wednesday, came ahead of testimony by the CDC’s director, Dr Thomas Frieden.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. House panel to probe if there was cover-up in CDC lab mishap

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) – A congressional panel
probing the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at federal
laboratories will try to determine if U.S. officials sought to
cover up an incident involving deadly avian flu, its Republican
chairman said on Tuesday.

Representative Tim Murphy said lawmakers will also look at
whether lab workers face adequate “consequences” for failing to
follow rules, and consider new legislation if penalties are
lacking when actions endanger the public.

Jul 15, 2014

U.S. officials purge biosafety board in midst of anthrax crisis

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) – Federal officials, amid the
worst U.S. biosafety crisis in years, have dismissed 11 eminent
scientists from a 23-member panel that advises the government on
how and whether research on dangerous pathogens should be
conducted.

The purged members were informed that their service was no
longer needed via an email on Sunday night from Mary Groesch,
executive director of the National Science Advisory Board for
Biosecurity (NSABB). Two of the dismissed members told Reuters
that the notice came without warning. The panel is overseen by
the National Institutes of Health.

Jul 8, 2014

U.S. Democrats aim to turn contraception into campaign drive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democrats hope to turn their legal setback on Obamacare and contraception into a winning autumn campaign issue by pushing legislation requiring employers to include birth control in healthcare coverage.

Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives unveiled bills on Tuesday to override last week’s Supreme Court 5-4 ruling that allowed closely held corporations to forego for religious reasons President Barack Obama’s healthcare regulation requiring insurance plans to cover contraceptives.

Jul 8, 2014

U.S. senators say federal action may be needed to curb ‘re-homing’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday that the federal government may have to take a stronger role to stop parents from transferring custody of their adopted children to strangers they meet on the Internet.

    At a subcommittee hearing in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers took their first look at the practice known as “private re-homing,” which bypasses the government’s child welfare system to leave boys and girls in the custody of strangers, often with little more than a notarized power of attorney.

Jun 20, 2014

CDC anthrax scare raises worries in Congress about lab safety

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A growing anthrax scare at three government laboratories is drawing scrutiny from Congress about whether the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the appropriate safety procedures in place to protect federal employees from contamination.

Oversight committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are weighing whether the potential exposure of 84 people to one of the deadliest strains of anthrax at CDC facilities in Atlanta could merit formal congressional hearings, aides said.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S. creates new CEO position for Obamacare insurance marketplace

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s new health secretary moved swiftly on Friday to shore up administration oversight of Obamacare with a series of management changes to address weaknesses blamed for last year’s crash of the federal website, HealthCare.gov.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell named Optum executive Andy Slavitt, who led day-to-day operations to fix the faulty website, to a new No. 2 post at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), giving him authority for policy and operational coordination for the agency’s initiatives.

Jun 19, 2014

Exclusive: Republicans ready messaging campaign aimed at women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican party officials are putting together a new election year messaging campaign to reach women voters on issues including Obamacare, jobs and education as they seek to gain an advantage in the Nov. 4 congressional elections.

About three weeks of internal polling and focus group research has identified jobs and household finances as the most important issues among 1,206 likely women voters, according to the Republican National Committee, which commissioned the surveys along with the National Republican Congressional Campaign.

Jun 18, 2014

Republicans ready messaging campaign aimed at women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican party officials are putting together a new election year messaging campaign to reach women voters on issues including Obamacare, jobs and education as they seek to gain an advantage in the Nov. 4 congressional elections.

About three weeks of internal polling and focus group research has identified jobs and household finances as the most important issues among 1,206 likely women voters, according to the Republican National Committee, which commissioned the surveys along with the National Republican Congressional Campaign.

Jun 10, 2014

Republicans call Obamacare subsidies a risk to taxpayers

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans
sought to portray Obamacare subsidies for low-income families as
a financial risk for taxpayers on Tuesday, a claim that could
become a new avenue for campaign attacks on Democratic
candidates this fall.

At a hearing in the Republican-controlled U.S. House,
witnesses from conservative groups said overpayments of federal
subsidies to people newly enrolled in Obamacare health plans
could reach hundreds of billions of dollars while jeopardizing
the health coverage and federal tax refunds of subsidy
recipients found to owe money.

    • About David

      "David Morgan has covered news from Wall Street and Fleet Street to the White House, the Pentagon and Congress, including politics, macroeconomics, military affairs, corporate finance, U.S. intelligence, national security and the international markets. He has also reported from Atlanta on the rise of American conservatism, civil rights, homegrown terrorism and the Olympics, and helped chronicle the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath from Philadelphia, New York and Washington."
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