Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has often been the swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, vehemently rejected the expected nomination of former Commissioner Robert Califf to once again lead the Food and Drug Administration.
Manchin said, “His nomination is an insult to the many families and individuals who have had their lives changed forever as a result of addiction. I could not support Dr. Califf’s nomination in 2016 and I cannot support it now.”
Califf, who led the agency from February 2016 until January 2017, previously won Senate confirmation by a 89 to 4 margin. Manchin, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and then-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) voted against him.
Barring something insane, it seems likely Califf will again have the votes. Our health team note his selection will have “endorsements from a bipartisan group of fellow former FDA commissioners — as well as public health experts who have urged Biden for months to settle on a nominee.”
Another hurdle: Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan (N.H.), who’s up for reelection in 2022, pledged to “thoroughly review” the pick and said she’s “deeply troubled by some of the FDA’s past decisions.”
Still, an interesting move: As they seek Manchin’s vote on their broader social spending bill, the White House picked someone to lead the agency they know very well he staunchly opposes.