Additional Hold on Califf Nomination Announced

Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that he would be placing a hold on the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf for Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week. Sanders has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the nomination due to Califf’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf, a cardiologist, conducted research while at Duke University that received funding from drug manufacturers. During his nomination hearing, Califf raised issues with Sen. Sanders’ support for importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) had previously announced that he would place a hold on Califf until he commits to overhauling the FDA process for the approval of opioid painkillers. Sanders noted that he shares Markey’s concerns about the opioid abuse epidemic. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also placed a hold on the nomination due to concerns stemming from the FDA’s treatment of genetically modified salmon. Senate rules would allow Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to force a vote on Califf’s nomination. He is expected to have enough support for full Senate confirmation if there is a vote, but no announcements on timing for such vote have been made.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

POSTPONED: 1/26 – House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing: “Examining Medicaid and CHIP’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage;” 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Special Aging Committee field hearing: “Fighting Against a Growing Epidemic: Opioid Misuse and Abuse Among Older Americans;” 10:30 a.m., Loudon County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg, Va.; February 1

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee: hearing on “Choice Consolidation: Evaluating Eligibility Requirements for Care in the Community;” 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; February 2

Senate Budget Committee hearing: “Spending on Unauthorized Programs;” a list of witnesses can be found here; 10:00 a.m., 608 Dirksen Bldg.; February 3

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing: “Developments in the Prescription Drug Market: Oversight;” 9:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; February 4

House Budget Committee hearing: “The Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook;” witness: Mr. Keith Hall, CBO Director, 9:30 a.m., 210 Cannon Bldg.; February 4

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; February 4

Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominations of Mary Wakefield to be deputy secretary of the Health and Human Services Department; Andrew Eanes to be deputy commissioner of Social Security; Elizabeth Copeland to be a judge of the U.S. Tax Court; and Vik Stoll to be a judge of the U.S. Tax Court; 10:00 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.; February 4

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