Senate confirmation vote for Califf as FDA Commissioner no longer a slam dunk

Dr. Robert M. Califf was the Commissioner of Meals and Medication for nearly a yr till Jan. 20, 2017, when the brand new Republican administration took over.

However to once more be FDA Commissioner, Califf should get assist from Republican senators as a result of some Democrats are abandoning Califf in giant sufficient numbers to make it more and more unlikely that the U.S. Senate will verify him.

President Joe Biden final November nominated Califf as FDA Commissioner and Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban because the USDA’s Beneath Secretary for Meals Security, which might fill the 2 prime meals security jobs within the federal authorities.

Califf’s affirmation is now thought-about in danger as a result of at the very least 5 Senate Democrats have introduced plans to oppose the previous FDA Commissioner.

And whereas there are 5 Democratic senators  who received’t vote for Califf, there may be additionally one who now can not: Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM.   His  Jan.27 stroke  was extra severe than first reported.  It has incapacitated Luján and  wire companies report he could also be out for at the very least six extra weeks,

Luján’s medical depart means Califf should recruit another Republican to assist his affirmation.  And Republicans will maintain a 50-49 majority till the New Mexican senator is ready to return.

Califf’s lack of assist got here after the Senate Well being Schooling Labor and Pensions Committee really useful his affirmation. Any Senate ground vote received’t probably happen except and till the Biden administration can discover sufficient affirmation votes to place him excessive.

To  enhance Califf’s probabilities , the Biden administration might want to enlist Republicans to make up for the lacking  and defections it has skilled amongst Democrats.

The final time he was nominated to be FDA Commissioner, the U.S. Senate confirmed Califf on an 89-4 vote. This time Califf is compelled to go door-to-door among the many Senate workplaces, attempting to sew collectively the 50 votes he wants

Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, is voicing assist for Califf and predicting there can be sufficient Republican votes for Califf’s affirmation. Burr is the rating Republican on the Senate HELP committee.

The White Home reviews Califf has met with 33 Senators with 14 extra scheduled. Within the meantime, veteran FDA government Janet Woodcock is performing Commissioner of Meals and Medication and into her second yr. She has now run the company longer than Califf.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture  has not scheduled a listening to on the President’s appointment of Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban because the USDA’s Beneath Secretary for Meals Security.

He was nominated nearly three months in the past. Esteban wants a listening to and favorable advice from the Senate Ag Committee earlier than his affirmation vote may be taken up on the Senate ground.

Luján’s “stroke within the cerebellum,” which docs have eased swelling with “decompressive surgical procedure,” might add weeks or months to Esteban’s wait time for a affirmation vote.

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