President BidenJoe BidenSinema Fundraising in Europe as Reconciliation Talks ‘Ongoing’: Mexico Report Urges More US Investment in Central America to Stop Migration Flows Trump Calls for Take Back Virginia Rally to Exalt Youngkin MORE He is expected to nominate Robert Califf to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple sources familiar with the deliberations said Thursday.
Califf previously served as FDA commissioner during the Obama administration, where he served for less than a year.
A source said the selection was not completely finalized amid an exchange of views with Califf about the job, but that he is the most likely choice.
A second said the nomination is expected, calling Califf the favorite, but noted that the decision is not yet final.
Under federal law, Biden faces a Nov. 15 deadline to choose a leader for the agency or nominate the current acting commissioner, Janet Woodcock.
Woodcock has been at the helm of the FDA since Biden was elected, but key Democrats have indicated they would not support his nomination because of what they see as his role in the failure to control the opioid epidemic.
The White House has emphasized that it wants its pick for the critical position to be someone with a straightforward path to Senate confirmation, and it believes it has found that candidate in Califf. It was confirmed by 89 votes to 4 in 2016.
Sens. Joe manchinJoe ManchinSinema fundraising in Europe while reconciliation talks ‘are ongoing’: Warren report: Billionaires who ‘have enough money to skyrocket’ will pay the reconciliation bill To win 2022: bet on reconciliation and invest in Latino voters MORE (DW.Va.), Ed markeyEd MarkeyBiden Faces Pressure to Pass Infrastructure Bills Ahead of Climate Summit Democratic Senate Says Facebook Offers ‘Alligator Tears Over Protecting Children’ Facebook VP: Comparisons to Big Tobacco are ‘Extremely Misleading’ MORE (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) And the former senator. Kelly ayotteKelly Ann Ayotte Poll: Possible showdown between Sununu and Hassan in NH is a draw Democrats facing tough re-elections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu is seen as the top recruit in the GOP’s bid to win back the Senate MORE (RN.H.) voted against the nomination.
Senators at the time expressed concern that he was too close to the industry, having served as a consultant for pharmaceutical and device companies. Since leaving the agency, Califf advised Google Health and later led health policy at its spin-off company, Verily Life Sciences. He is currently a professor of cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine.
Senators also raised concerns about opioids, but the opposition focused more on the FDA’s role in regulating it as a whole than on Califf specifically.
The Washington Post was the first to report that Biden was targeting Califf early Thursday.
“No decision has been made for the FDA commissioner and we remain grateful for the strong acting leadership of the FDA,” a White House official told The Hill when asked about the reports that the choice was likely Califf.
Califf would take over an agency that has not had a confirmed leader since Biden took office in January. The FDA is in charge of guiding the nation through the eventual end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it faces key decisions when authorizing COVID-19 booster shots and children’s vaccines.
Biden hinted last week that an announcement about his FDA nominee was imminent.
“We’ll talk about that in a moment,” he told reporters last Tuesday when asked about his nominee for the agency after returning to the White House from a trip to Michigan.
When asked about the lack of a nominee and the impact on agency morale during a briefing earlier this week, the White House press secretary. Jen psakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care – Presented by the National Council on Mental Wellbeing – NIH Study Finds Mix-and-Match Drivers Effective White House Formally Rejects Trump’s Claim of Executive Privilege on Jan.6 Overnight Papers Energy & Environment – Presented by ExxonMobil – Oil Executives Expected to Answer MORE Oversight Questions He said Biden focused on “nominating exactly the right person” for the position.
He also said that the FDA is full of “talented” career employees “who have advanced in the approval of vaccines, the approval of boosters, the approval of, you know, a variety of treatments that can help save lives in the public.” . without a confirmed leader in place.
—Updated at 2:24 pm