Obama's FDA chief overcomes hurdle
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The Senate voted 80-6 to end debate on President Obama's nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), moving the nomination one step closer to confirmation.

Four of the six no votes on Obama's nominee came from Democrats. A final vote on Robert Califf's nomination is expected as soon as Tuesday. 

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Despite widespread support, Califf has drawn opposition from senators in both parties over concerns about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA's strategy to combat an opioid epidemic.
 
Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteHeitkamp ad highlights record as Senate race heats up Ernst, Fischer to square off for leadership post The Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP MORE (R-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Lawmakers, businesses await guidance on tax law MORE (R-Ohio), who face tough reelection bids, joined with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Trump caves under immense pressure — what now? Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Manchin up 9 points over GOP challenger in W.Va. Senate race MORE (W-Va.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor Dems press EPA nominees on ethics, climate Lawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars MORE (Mass.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Rubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility Obstacles to Trump's 'Space Force' could keep proposal grounded for now MORE (Fla.) to vote against moving forward on Califf's nomination. 
 
Ayotte and Portman have made bolstering the federal government's ability to prevent and treat drug addiction center to their reelection campaigns.
 
Markey and Manchin suggested earlier Monday that while they likely wouldn't be able to prevent Califf from being confirmed, they would use his nomination to try to force a debate on opioid and heroin addition that would stretch into the appropriations process.  
 
"This is the beginning of a long struggle," Markey said. "We need the FDA to be a top cop on the beat, not a rubber stamp." 
 
With Califf currently serving as a deputy commissioner for the FDA, Manchin added that the next commissioner must be willing to take the agency in a different direction. 
 
The two Democrats suggested they would use part of the 30 hours allowed under Senate rules before the final vote to read letters from their constituents who have been impacted by addiction. 
 
Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests Supreme Court rules states can require online sellers to collect sales tax 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges —Dems, health groups demand immigrant children be quickly reunited with families White House releases sweeping proposal to reorganize government Democrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor MORE (D-Wash.), the top members of the Senate's health committee, voiced support for Califf's nomination ahead of Monday's procedural vote, suggesting he was the right man for the job.
 
The Senate's Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee easily approved Califf's nomination last month.
 
Deaths from prescription drugs and heroin overdose reached an all-time high in 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control.