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Califf Before Senate Panel

Lawmakers have questioned Robert Califf, the Biden Administration nominee to lead the US Food and Drug Administration, about the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid epidemic, and more, the New York Times reports.

President Joe Biden last month nominated Califf, who previously served as FDA commissioner during the Obama Administration, to again lead the agency. The post has been held since Stephen Hahn stepped down as commissioner at the end of the Trump Administration by Janet Woodcock in an acting capacity.

The Times reports that members of the Senate panel have expressed confidence in Califf's nomination, suggesting that there may be bipartisan support in the full Senate for his confirmation. Still, it notes that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) criticized Califf for doing too little to counter the opioid crisis, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that Califf's career was an example of the revolving door between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. After previously leaving FDA , Califf joined Verily, part of Alphabet.

"All FDA's actions regarding the products the agency regulates must focus on protecting consumers and patients," Califf said, according to the Times. "Safety matters."