‘The White House isn’t supporting him’: Biden’s FDA pick left in limbo

Date:

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration does not yet have the votes in the Senate needed to give the agency its first political leader in more than a year.

More than two months after picking Robert Califf to be FDA commissioner, the confirmation is stymied by Democratic skepticism of the longtime cardiologist’s regulatory track record and a new GOP push to kill his nomination.

The difficulties have sparked deep frustration among top Democrats and touched off a round of finger pointing, with Califf allies privately blaming the White House for doing too little to shore up support for its own nominee, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity to describe the internal dynamics.

Now, Califf’s supporters fear his candidacy is on the brink — raising the threat of a setback for Biden and the health agency at the center of his pandemic response. The White House, meanwhile, is calling into service some of its top advisers, including Anthony Fauci, to try and rescue the nomination.

Just four Republicans — Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — voted for him in committee earlier this month, marking the first public sign of trouble for Califf. In recent days, people familiar with the process have become increasingly concerned about the status of Califf’s nomination.

“If the vote were held today, he would not have the votes,” said one person with knowledge of the matter.

Read full article here.

David Lim, Adam Cancryn and Lauren Gardner – Yahoo News – 2022-01-28.

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