WASHINGTON – Lester Crawford's (search) nomination to head the Food and Drug Administration won committee approval Wednesday, though it could still face some rough sledding before reaching the full Senate.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions approved the nomination on a voice vote. No date has been set for full Senate consideration of Crawford, currently acting commissioner of the agency.
Clinton and Murray are concerned that the FDA has not made a final decision on allowing sales, without a doctor's prescription, of a morning-after contraceptive pill called Plan B.
The hold will remain in effect until FDA issues a yes or no decision on the emergency contraceptive, they said in a statement. An FDA advisory committee recommended 24-3 that Plan B (search) be approved for over-the-counter sales, but the FDA has yet to make a final determination.
The National Partnership for Women and Families, a health care advocacy group, issued a statement saying it opposes approval of Crawford until the FDA acts on Plan B.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also placed a hold, his office announced. He has opposed the nomination, contending that as acting commissioner Crawford has not been aggressive enough in implementing changes in the labeling of condoms.
On Wednesday, Committee Chairman Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., urged his colleagues to "put isolated disagreements aside and work together to confirm Dr. Crawford as soon as possible so that he can take charge, take action, and take responsibility for leading the FDA."
En route to committee approval, Crawford survived an anonymous charge that he had an extramarital affair with an agency employee and that she received favorable treatment as a result. The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigated the report and said he found no evidence that it was true.