A mistake in paperwork means that the Biden administration will not see a Food and Drug Administration director before the end of the year. Three people familiar with the matter said that a plan to expedite Robert Califf’s nomination as FDA commissioner by the Senate is currently on hold. The Biden administration failed in its obligation to submit the required paperwork to Congress in the time allowed.
This delay means that Califf will not be able to receive a confirmation hearing before mid-December, which effectively eliminates the possibility of a Senate floor vote for his appointment before the end.
According to people familiar with the matter, the Senate HELP Committee had hoped that Califf’s hearing would be scheduled for the beginning of December. The proposed timeline would have given the chamber an opportunity to vote in favor of the confirmation of the cardiologist and Obama-era FDA Chief before it adjourned. This would have filled President Joe Biden’s most prominent health policy vacancy.
However, this was contingent upon the administration submitting the required paperwork to the committee no later than Nov. 19. The deadline was missed by the administration, which likely pushed Califf’s confirmation vote to January.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, President Biden waited until now to nominate an FDA Director.