McConnell sets up confirmation vote on FDA chief
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) is setting up the Senate to vote on President Obama's nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, despite pushback from lawmakers in both parties. 

McConnell filed cloture on Robert Califf's nomination to be FDA commissioner on Thursday evening. Senators are scheduled to take a procedural vote at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, after the Senate's week-long recess. 
Sixty votes will be needed to overcome the procedural hurdle, which could be difficult to meet. 
Senators on both sides of the aisle—including Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (I-Vt.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination—have pledged to oppose Califf's nomination. Lawmakers cite concerns over his ties to the pharamacutical industry and the FDA's response to the opioid epidemic. 
"We need to have a debate in this country on opioids," he added. "I am committed to continuing to work on this issue and using Dr. Robert Califf's nomination as the means by which we can have a debate here on the floor of the United States Senate on these issues." 
Califf, who joined the FDA as a deputy commissioner in February 2015, announced a sweeping plan earlier this month aimed at tackling substance abuse. Both Markey and Sen. Joe Minchin (D-W.Va.) suggested the agency's announcement doesn't go far enough. 
The Center for Disease Control says that deaths from prescription drugs and heroin overdoses reached an all-time high in 2014, increasing 14 percent from the previous year. 
The Senate's Health committee approved Califf's nomination last month.