President Trump‘s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a key Senate panel Tuesday with bipartisan support.
If confirmed by the full Senate, cancer doctor and researcher Stephen Hahn would join the FDA at a challenging time: The agency is facing pressure from all sides on how to curb youth vaping rates, with some pushing for a ban on flavored e-cigarette products.
Hahn, the chief medical officer of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, hasn’t weighed in on specific proposals but has called teen e-cigarette use concerning.
The Senate health committee approved Hahn’s nomination 18-5, with top Democrat Patty Murray (Wash.) voting ‘no.’
“I’m just not convinced Dr. Hahn is the right pick for the job,” Murray said Tuesday.
“I was particularly concerned that when pressed several times by members on both sides of the aisle, Dr. Hahn refused to commit to implementing a strong policy to clear nontobacco-flavored e-cigarettes that have not undergone FDA review from the market,” Murray said.
President Trump appears to have backed away from his September promise to clear the market of those products.
When asked about that proposal during his November confirmation hearing, Hahn wouldn’t comment on specifics, saying he would use “science and data” to tackle youth vaping rates.
Still, Hahn gained the support of all Republicans and some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Doug Jones (D-La.)