publication date: Oct. 11, 2019

As deadline nears, FBI starts clearance for Hahn as part of FDA commissioner nomination

By Paul Goldberg

The Trump administration has taken an important step toward nominating MD Anderson Cancer Center executive Stephen M. Hahn to the job of FDA commissioner, sources said.

The administration has instructed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a background check on Hahn, chief medical executive and professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson.

Next, Hahn will need to face confirmation by the Senate during one of the most partisan periods in United States history, when impeachment of President Donald Trump will likely dominate the Capitol Hill agenda.

The appointment and confirmation process will take months, which means that unless Trump is re-elected, Hahn would have less than a year to serve as FDA commissioner.

On Nov. 1, Norman “Ned” Sharpless will have served as an acting FDA commissioner for 210 days, which means that under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act he will have to leave his office unless a permanent commissioner is nominated.

If Hahn is nominated, Sharpless would be able to stay on as acting commissioner at FDA.

Alternatively, another senior FDA official could be named acting commissioner and Sharpless could return to NCI, where he served as director before getting transferred to the regulatory agency.

In the past, the administration used to announce its “intent to nominate” political appointees.

However, after several such candidates failed to clear initial hurdle of an FBI background check, the White House has been waiting for FBI to run these initial investigations before sending nomination papers to the Senate.

Hahn’s appearance … Continue reading As deadline nears, FBI starts clearance for Hahn as part of FDA commissioner nomination

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