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Biden taps Robert Califf for FDA commissioner, and Manchin immediately opposes

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President Biden has finally announced his nominee for Food and Drug Administration commissioner, nearly 10 months into his presidency in the middle of a deadly pandemic — Dr. Robert Califf. This will be his second time in the job if confirmed, since he also served as FDA commissioner during the Obama administration. 

As soon as the announcement was made, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced his opposition, meaning the Biden nominee will only be confirmed if he receives Republican support. 

"Dr. Robert Califf is one of the most experienced clinical trialists in the country, and has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation's fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic," the president said in a statement announcing Califf as his pick. "As the FDA considers many consequential decisions around vaccine approvals and more, it is mission critical that we have a steady, independent hand to guide the FDA."

Manchin is opposing Califf over his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, calling the president's selection of Califf "an insult to the many families and individuals who have had their lives change forever as a result of addiction." West Virginia has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic

"Dr. Califf's nomination makes no sense as the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on families across this country with no end in sight," Manchin said in a statement. "2020 was the deadliest year on record for drug related overdose deaths with 1,386 West Virginians and nearly 95,000 Americans dying from a drug related overdose. I have made it abundantly clear that correcting the culture at the FDA is critical to changing the tide of the opioid epidemic. Instead, Dr. Califf's nomination and his significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry take us backwards not forward."

Dr. Janet Woodcock has been serving as the acting FDA commissioner since the beginning of the Biden administration. 

This is a developing story.

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