Dr. Robert M. Califf was the Commissioner of Meals and Medicine 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 affirm 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 high meals security jobs within the federal authorities.
Califf’s affirmation is now thought of in danger as a result of a minimum of 5 Senate Democrats have introduced plans to oppose the previous FDA Commissioner.
And whereas there are 5 Democratic senators who gained’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 critical than first reported. It has incapacitated Luján and wire providers report he could also be out for a minimum of six extra weeks,
Luján’s medical go away means Califf should recruit yet another Republican to help his affirmation. And Republicans will maintain a 50-49 majority till the New Mexican senator is ready to return.
Califf’s lack of help got here after the Senate Well being Training Labor and Pensions Committee beneficial his affirmation. Any Senate ground vote gained’t doubtless happen until 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 pressured to go door-to-door among the many Senate workplaces, making an attempt to sew collectively the 50 votes he wants
Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, is voicing help 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 experiences Califf has met with 33 Senators with 14 extra scheduled. Within the meantime, veteran FDA govt Janet Woodcock is performing Commissioner of Meals and Medicine 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 virtually 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.
(To join a free subscription to Meals Security Information, click here.)