President Obama discusses climate change at COP21, the U.S. Senate votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- President Barack Obama spoke about climate change at COP21—an ongoing international conference intended to foster dialogue and an international agreement on climate change—stating “that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.”
- In a vote along party lines, the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would repeal core provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—a vote that is considered to be symbolic, as the Office of Management and Budget has issued a statement stating that President Obama will veto this legislation if it reaches his desk, but which the bill’s supporters reportedly hope will force greater scrutiny of the ACA ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
- As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a month to the comment period for a proposed rule that would differentiate when regulations apply to tobacco as a “tobacco product” as opposed to “a drug, device, or combination product,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) held meetings with industry and public health advocates ahead of the FDA’s publication of its e-cigarettes rule.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to invalidate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules regulating both current and future power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions—legislation that President Barack Obama reportedly intends to reverse through a veto.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a final rule that establishes a mandatory inspection program for catfish and imposes new labeling requirements for identifying inspected catfish and catfish products.
- In light of the June passage of the USA Freedom Act, which banned the bulk collection of Americans’ phone call data, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) announced that it had ended its telephone surveillance program under which it collected metadata—information that includes the length and date, but not the substance, of a call.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- A University of Pennsylvania study found that almost half of Medicaid patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C were denied newly approved antiviral drugs because these treatments were deemed to be not medically necessary. Researcher Vincent Lo Re attributed these refusals to the cost of these drugs.
- In a working paper on the national regulation of space, McGill University Professor Paul Dempsey examined national licensing, liability, and the registration of space activities. Professor Dempsey also discussed alternative means to regulating the upcoming commercial space industry.
- A recent report issued by the PEN American Center, an international literary and human rights organization, examined whistleblower protections for U.S. intelligence community workers. The organization argued that a “chaotic patchwork of protections” leaves many intelligence community employees and contractors “extremely vulnerable to retaliation and criminal prosecution.”