Senate Panel to Vote Next Week on FDA Commissioner

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will vote Wednesday on the nomination of Scott Gottlieb to serve as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

If confirmed, Gottlieb, a former deputy commissioner at the FDA, would oversee an agency that President Donald Trump has vowed to reform.

During his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Gottlieb called the opioid epidemic “the biggest crisis” facing the FDA. He was also pressed on his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, which ranking member Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said were “unprecedented.”

Gottlieb has said he would recuse himself for one year from any decisions involving health care companies he has worked with. The pharmaceutical industry praised his nomination, as have former FDA commissioners from both parties.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, Gottlieb likely would not need Democratic support to be approved to the post, if at least 50 Republicans vote to confirm him. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who represents Gottlieb’s home state and introduced him at his confirmation hearing, said at the time he had not decided whether he would vote to confirm the nomination.

The panel is also set to consider four public health bills at the markup.


Washington Brief: Trump Tax Plan to Slash Business Rates, Boost Deductions for Individuals

President Donald Trump today is scheduled to outline the pillars of his plan to rewrite the U.S. tax code, with provisions such as lowering the rate for pass-through businesses to 15 percent from 39.6 percent and cutting the corporate rate. He’s not expected to endorse the border adjustment tax sought by House GOP leaders, but he plans to include a tax break for child-care expenses, viewed as a possible sweetener for Democrats.

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Congress has until midnight on April 28 to pass a spending bill that would keep the government open. While many lawmakers are hoping the funding measure will extend through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, there is also talk of passing a short-term extension in order to buy more time to negotiate a deal that extends through September.

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