I may be stealing a bit of Athenae’s thunder here as I give you Senators Patty Murray and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
President Bush’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration is being blocked from Senate confirmation by two Democrats who said Wednesday that they would hold up a vote until the agency settled the long-delayed question of whether an emergency contraceptive could be sold over the counter. The Democrats, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Patty Murray of Washington, met with the nominee, Dr. Lester M. Crawford, on Wednesday to discuss what they regard as foot-dragging on the issue of the so-called morning-after pill. An expert panel of scientists recommended over-the-counter sales in December 2003, but the agency has yet to issue a final ruling.
“I’m prepared to hold it for as long as it takes to get a decision made,” Mrs. Clinton said. She added, “From everything we’re able to determine, the agency has substituted politics and ideology for science and facts.”
Dr. Crawford could not be reached, and an agency spokeswoman, Kathleen Quinn, said the F.D.A. would have no comment. But at a hearing last month, Dr. Crawford told senators the decision on the contraceptive “will not be based on politics.” He did not say then when a final decision would be made and, Ms. Murray said, did not do so on Wednesday.
“It was very frustrating and very unsatisfactory,” she said, adding, “I did not get any timeline at all for a decision, and there was no new information.”