Today on the Hill: Senate Looks to Clear Block of Noms Before Recess; FDA Reauthorization Hits Senate Floor

The Senate continues its nominations work today after yesterday’s successful votes on Kevin Newsom to become a U.S. Circuit Judge and Christopher Wray to become Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director. Wray’s confirmation came by a wide bipartisan margin, 92-5, as lawmakers were satisfied by the former Justice Department official’s credentials and willingness to buck the White House as necessary in his new role. With the Wray confirmation cleared, Senate leaders from both parties are now reportedly working to fill a block of remaining vacancies before the chamber adjourns for the August recess. That move may provide additional cover for Senate Democrats should they elect to force pro forma sessions throughout the month in order to prevent the White House from making any recess appointments that circumvent the traditional Senate confirmation process.

Today’s floor action features consideration and a cloture vote on the nomination of Marvin Kaplan to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Kaplan was advanced only on a party-line vote out of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, facing Democratic opposition over his views towards organized labor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also filed cloture on the motion to proceed to a measure (H.R. 2430) reauthorizing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA user fee bill, which passed the House on a voice vote, would fast-track certain drug and device trials, create a new 180-day exclusivity period for some generic drugs, and reauthorize the FDA’s fees on new drugs, devices, generic drugs, and biosimilars through 2022.