Weekend update

Congress remains in session again on Capitol Hill this week. The Supreme Court is likely to be back to nine justices later this week when the Senate confirms Judge Neil Gorsuch. The vote is scheduled for Friday.

Congress is under pressure to pass a resolution by April 28 funding the federal government though the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30.  The FEHBlog cannot imagine a federal shutdown occurring when the same party hold the Presidency and both Houses of Congress.  But as we were once again reminded by the demise of the American Health Care Act earlier this month, we don’t have a parliamentary system.

The FEHBlog has been keeping an eye on the House bipartisan postal reform bill (H.R 756).  Any action since the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the bill by voice vote on March 16 has been behind the scenes.  Printing Impressions reports that last week postal customers from the printing, imaging, and mailing industries visited Capitol Hill last week to urge fast approval of the bill.

In a bit of good news, ABC News reports that progress is being made on the development and testing of a vaccination against the Zika virus.  According to the report,

This is a totally new kind of vaccine. Traditionally, vaccines are made using a dead or weakened virus to train the body’s immune system to recognize and fight that infection.
In contrast, the DNA vaccine works through trickery: It’s made with a circular piece of DNA carrying genes from the Zika virus that, once in the body, make particles that resemble Zika enough to alert the immune system but cannot cause infection.
The NIH also is testing the safety of some more traditional Zika vaccine candidates, but the easier-to-make DNA vaccine was the first ready to advance to this second stage of human testing.
Don’t expect a vaccine to be widely available any time soon. If Zika causes lots of illness this year, Fauci said researchers may have clues by early 2018 about how well the shots work — but if natural infections slow, they’ll need many more volunteers to get an answer.

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