Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Dr. Robert Califf will once again head the Food and Drug Administration, narrowly securing his position as the head of the consumer safety agency. The Senate confirmed Califf on Tuesday despite some concerns over his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and GOP opposition to his stance on access to birth control.
The Senate voted to confirm Califf on a 50-46 vote, split largely along party lines.
Six Republicans — Sens. Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and Patrick Toomey — voted alongside Democrats to confirm the Duke University cardiologist.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against Califf’s confirmation, joining Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Maggie Hassan, Joe Manchin and Ed Markey.
Republicans who opposed Califf’s confirmation expressed concerns over the FDA’s 2016 call to ease restrictions on the abortion pill Mifeprex, decided during Califf’s first tenure at the agency.
Califf had previously served as FDA commissioner in the last year of former President Barack Obama’s administration. President Biden nominated Califf in November 2021. The agency has been without a permanent leader for the last 13 months.