The Trump administration is working to mitigate the impact of the continuing government shutdown on Americans, including calling back food inspectors and IRS workers ahead of tax return season, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday.
"We have the ability to continue to function, to protect the health, safety and national security of the United States," Azar told Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria."
"We're very grateful to the employees of the FDA and the Indian Health Service for continuing to work in the very important public health mission that we've got here. The rest of our department at HHS was actually funded before the end of the fiscal year."
Already, the administration has ordered nearly 50,000 furloughed employees back to work without pay, to ensure that functions such as monitoring food safety, inspecting planes, issuing tax refunds, and facilitating the sale of offshore oil drilling rights continues.
Azar also discussed the ongoing work to lower prescription drug prices, saying he and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., had a "great meeting" on Tuesday .
"We've made real progress," he said. "We've got historic levels of generic drug approvals that saved consumers $26 billion since the president was inaugurated.
"We're looking at more options and we're willing to work with Democrats and Republicans, anything that keeps the patient at the center and keeps our drug supply safe is on the table, and we're willing to work to bring those prices down."
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