CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced plans Wednesday to filibuster President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, saying Obama’s pick has close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and won’t be tough enough against opioid painkillers.
During a speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Manchin said the FDA needs a total overhaul, and Dr. Robert Califf, now second in command at the federal agency, won’t make that happen.
“I do not believe he is the leader we need to change the culture of the FDA and address the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is ravaging West Virginia and our country,” Manchin said. “He will not have the impact or leadership capabilities that the nation needs to stem the tide of the opioid crisis.”
In recent days, three of Manchin’s Senate colleagues — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. — have placed a hold on the nomination, even though a Senate committee approved Obama’s selection earlier this month.
Manchin becomes the first senator to announce he plans to use a filibuster to block Califf’s nomination…