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You’ll Never Guess Who’s Blocking Obama’s FDA Nominee

January 26, 2016, 6:46 PM UTC
Obama Speaks Before Leaving COP21
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 01: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the OECD Conference Centre before leaving the Conference On Climate Change COP21 on December 1, 2015 in Paris, France. Obama spoke about the economic impact of global warming and security risks before flying back to Washington. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Photograph by Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

Barack Obama is used to seeing his appointments blocked by Republicans, but his latest foe is from his own side of the aisle—Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is blocking the Obama’s pick to head the Food and Drug Administration, reports The Hill. Sanders already said last year that he was opposed to the appointment of Dr. Robert Califf, who he says is too close to the pharmaceutical industry. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts had already said he’d block Califf’s appointment until the FDA changed the way it approves opioid painkillers.

For Sanders, though, the fight is more political.

“Dr. Califf’s extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies,” Sanders said, according to the Hill.

Sanders has also expressed support for Mareky’s position, citing a rising rate of opioid addition in America.


Fighting against the pharmaceutical industry has been a major theme of Sanders’ campaign. He has a number of policy proposals including importing medicine from Canada and restoring discounts for senior citizens. He’s also tied this fight into his push for universal health care.