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OPIOID EPIDEMIC: President Trump is expected to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency in a big announcement next week. The declaration would make it easier for small towns with the highest rates of overdoses to receive aid. Overdose related deaths have been dramatically rising and are linked to prescription drug addiction. Federal government efforts to curb the crisis have not worked over the past year leading to State and local governments taking matters into their own hands. Beaver County, Pennsylvania became the most recent county to file suit against major pharmaceutical companies and distributors for pumping drugs that they knew were addictive into the hands of patients.


NADA ON NAFTA: Canada and Mexico are not willing to accept the harsh terms the U.S. brought forward during the fourth round of NAFTA talks, leaving them at a stalemate. The U.S. took aim at Canada by offering the complete elimination of tariffs on all supply-managed products over 10 years. Canada uses these tariffs to limit supplies, restrict access, and control prices especially on their dairy, poultry, and eggs. According to a Canadian official, that would risk tens of thousands of farming jobs. The U.S. also insulted Mexico with their starting point for negotiations on auto origin rules. The complaint is that Mexico doesn’t use a fair amount of U.S. products in manufacturing - however, the American Automotive Policy Council disputed these assertions and has backed off the auto origin rule.

BUDGET DEBATE COMMENCES: The Senate voted 50-47 to begin debate on the FY18 budget bill. The vote took place along party lines with both Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) who is recovering from an illness and Richard Shelby (R-AL) home for a funeral - missing the vote. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) missed the vote due to his corruption trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two votes and he’ll be back to a full conference for future budget votes tomorrow and Friday with the surprising return of Cochran yesterday afternoon. His biggest headache continues to be Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who got into a Twitter war with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) over raising budget caps. If McConnell can keep the usual party buckers happy (Collins, McCain, Murkowski, and Corker), he can take the hit from Paul.

TRUMP’S CROSS AISLE DEAL: Shortly after criticizing insurance subsidies and calling Obamacare “gone” and “dead,” President Trump threw his support behind Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray’s (D-WA) bipartisan deal to stabilize Obamacare. The deal is meant to be a temporary fix to insurance markets to stabilize premiums by continuing subsidy payments to insurers for two years and offering states greater flexibility to waive Obamacare guidelines. Trump insists they have not given up on full repeal and replace yet, but will work on smaller measures in the meantime to fix the rising costs of health care.

DEMOCRATS HEALTH CARE PLAN: Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) unveiled a Democratic plan to fix Obamacare. Unlike Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other leftists - this plan was meant to garner bipartisan support. It tries to lower premium costs by using the current Obamacare system to create a competitively priced, government-run insurance program. Unlike the exchanges, this option is based on the Medicare model as a choice alongside private plans. This plan, like most efforts Democrats pursue in this Congress, does not have the potential to move.

TRUMP DECERTIFIES “ONE-SIDED” IRAN DEAL. HERE’S WHAT INVESTORS NEED TO KNOW: Our Senior Energy Analyst Joe McMonigle writes Trump warns if negotiations don’t address “serious flaws” then “the agreement will be terminated.” We expect oil sanctions in early 2018. Read the full piece here. In addition, here is a replay of our flash call from last week.

CALL REPLAY | CANARY IN A COAL MINE | 4Q17 HEALTH CARE THEMES PRESENTATION: Our Senior Health Analyst Emily Evans invites you to watch the replay here.

DEFENSE INDUSTRY LOOKING AT MORE $ FROM NEWLY FOCUSED ARMY: Our Senior Defense Analyst Emo Gardner writes that defense companies, large and small, are zeroing in on the Army's capability to fight a more sophisticated enemy. Read the full piece here.

AT&T/TIME WARNER ON TRACK (T, TWX): Our Senior Telecom Analyst Paul Glenchur writes that the deal seems on track despite new criticism from lawmakers. Attacks on the new antitrust chief appear more desperate than constructive. Read the full piece here.

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