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Biden pick to lead FDA fields questions over pharma ties, abortion pill, COVID tests

Dr. Robert Califf, former head of the Food and Drug Administration and President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the FDA again, drew praise from a top Senate Republican, as well as critical questions from conservatives and others during a Tuesday confirmation hearing. ... Read more»

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Protesters urge Kelly to support bill to protect sacred Oak Flat from mining

Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and students from Brophy and Xavier high schools protested outside Sen. Mark Kelly’s office Thursday, urging the Arizona Democrat to support legislation protecting a sacred site threatened by a proposed copper mine near Superior. ... Read more»

Democrats’ plans to expand Medicare benefits may pinch Advantage plans’ funding

A new television ad, paid for by Better Medicare Alliance, a research and advocacy group for Medicare Advantage plans, doesn’t spell out what cuts congressional lawmakers might be trying to slip past unsuspecting seniors.... Read more»

Recent White House study on taxes shows the wealthy pay a lower rate than everybody else

When ProPublica compared the richest Americans’ wealth gains to the taxes they paid, we found a system that benefits billionaires. White House economists recently used a similar method to calculate tax rates, revealing stark inequality. ... Read more»

Why doesn’t Medicare cover services so many seniors need?

“Traditional” Medicare does not cover many benefits used overwhelmingly by its beneficiaries, including most vision, dental and hearing care - and drug coverage is available only by purchasing a separate insurance plan - but Democrats in Congress plan to try to change that.... Read more»

Arizona independent voter registrations surge as parties fall

The major political parties in Arizona have continued to lose voters since the November election, with strident partisanship “turning off” voters and driving them to register as independents, and experts said that the shift is not unique to Arizona.... Read more»1

Biden extends student loan payment pause to 2022

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it will extend the freeze on student loan repayments through the end of January 2022, a pause that was initiated by the Trump administration in 2020, and it was set to expire on Oct. 1. ... Read more»

Redistricting will always be contentious. Ask Arizona.

Redistricting maps — redrawn once every decade — help determine which party will hold political power. That means intense battles even in states, such as Arizona, that have taken steps to reduce politicians’ control over the results. ... Read more»

ProPublica’s tax revelations lead to calls for reforms — and investigation

ProPublica’s investigation released Tuesday revealing that the top 25 wealthiest Americans have paid little, and sometimes nothing, in federal income taxes has resulted in demands to rewrite the tax code and to investigate how the confidential data was released.... Read more»

Factcheck: Manchin wrong on minimum wage; 21 states are no higher than $7.25

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrongly said “very few … if any” states have a minimum wage at the federally mandated $7.25 per hour. In fact, 21 states do.... Read more»

Sinema faces blowback for minimum wage vote; long-term damage unclear

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she still believes the Senate should take up a higher minimum wage, but that didn’t keep critics from lighting into her after her Friday vote to keep the higher wage out of the latest pandemic relief package.... Read more»

Critics grill Haaland; backers point to historic nature of nomination

While Senate Republicans used the Interior confirmation hearing for Rep. Debra Haaland to air their grievances about the Biden administration’s energy policies, supporters at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing focused mostly on the historic nature of the nomination. ... Read more»

Prop. 208 ahead in early returns; would provide school funds that legislators have not

The proposition would allow districts to hire more teachers and raise salaries of a workforce that is at high risk during the pandemic in a state that consistently ranks low on teacher pay, school funding and student performance.... Read more»

Sanders drops out, but Arizona supporters say they are still in the fight

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his 2020 Democratic presidential bid Wednesday, but his Arizona supporters said they will still push his message of Medicare for all, eliminating student debt and raising the minimum wage.... Read more»

After clear victory in Arizona, Biden looks to be in control

This week’s Democratic presidential preference election in Arizona was no contest, as voters clearly favored Joe Biden over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden also won Illinois and Florida Tuesday night, prompting Sanders to announce he’s assessing his candidacy. ... Read more»

What the Devil won't tell you

As I said: Biden can't be beat — and what being wrong means to Arizona

Presidential candidates can have bumpy rides but they never have completely augured in the way Sanders did. Biden's swift turnaround is only good news for Arizona Democrats on the ballot this fall. ... Read more»

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