The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced the nomination of National Cancer Institute Director Monica Bertagnolli, MD, to be director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a bipartisan 15-6 vote on Oct. 25.
At the markup, Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, MD, described Bertagnolli’s credentials and stated, “the NIH is desperate for leadership. Dr. Bertagnolli is qualified. She said she will respect congressional authority. For those reasons, I will support her nomination.” Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Roger Marshall, MD, (R-Kan.) joined all Democrats in voting in favor of confirmation. Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against the nomination, citing a need “to take on the greed and power of the drug companies and health care industry.”
The final hurdle to clear before Bertagnolli can take office is a vote of the full Senate. The AAMC has been urging senators to support the nomination [refer to Washington Highlights, Oct. 20].