Richard Lardner, The Associated Press

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In this April 7, 2020, file photo, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.
Watchdog report faults Medicare agency’s contract management
The head of the Medicare and Medicaid programs failed to properly manage more than $6 million in communications and outreach contracts, giving broad authority over federal employees to a Republican media strategist she worked with before joining the Trump administration, a government watchdog said in a report to be released Thursday.
2 new faces and old partisan standoffs as Congress returns
There will be two fresh Senate faces and some familiar but stubborn clashes facing lawmakers Wednesday as Congress begins its 2018 session staring at the year’s first potential calamity — an election-year government shutdown unless there’s a bipartisan spending pact by Jan. 19.
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