Senate to vote on von Eschenbach nomination today

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The US Senate is scheduled to consider Andrew von Eschenbach’s nomination to head the FDA today. The Senate has scheduled a procedural vote that requires the support of 60 senators to advance the nomination to a full vote, Reuters reported. Several senators have praised von Eschenbach’s qualifications to lead the agency and his nomination cleared a Senate committee in September. But three Republican Senators have blocked a full Senate vote. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa said he opposed a von Eschenbach confirmation vote because the FDA failed to cooperate with his investigation of Sanofi-Aventis’ antibiotic Ketek and related reports of liver failure. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina opposed a vote due to his concerns about the safety of the abortion pill RU-486. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said he will oppose a vote until prescription drug imports are legalized. Spokespeople for each of the three senators told Reuters early today they still object to a vote on von Eschenbach’s nomination.

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