December 07, 2006
Senate to vote on von Eschenbach nomination today
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.