Mark McClellan is expected to testify before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Thursday in an effort to advance his nomination for CMS administrator. McClellan has been under pressure because of his stated opposition while Food and Drug Administration commissioner to the reimportation of lower-cost drugs from Canada. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) on Tuesday put a formal hold on McClellan's nomination and said he would not remove the hold until McClellan testified before the commerce committee. Because of the hold, the full Senate could not take up McClellan's nomination, even though it passed the Senate Finance Committee 18-2, with one abstention, on Tuesday.
In other Washington news, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who recently resigned as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he will undergo surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital next week for cancer of the small intestine. Tauzin had been considered a candidate to head the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America but withdrew from talks last month after criticism by Democrats and consumer groups that the negotiations represented a potential conflict of interest. -- by Tony Fong