For nine months, President Joe Biden has struggled to find a candidate who is both qualified and could win Senate confirmation. The White House ruled out the current acting commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, after it became clear she would face steep opposition from a handful of lawmakers, including West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, for how liberally the FDA approved opioids when she ran the drug division within the agency.
Though Califf is seen as a final contender, a decision has not yet been made and others are also still being considered.
“There has not been a decision made for the FDA commissioner and we remain grateful to the strong acting leadership at the FDA,” a White House official told CNN in a statement Thursday.
Woodcock cannot legally stay on as the acting head past November 15 unless a permanent commissioner has been nominated. The White House is expected to name a nominee in the coming weeks.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.