The Senate health committee on Tuesday voted to advance President Donald Trump's pick to run the Food and Drug Administration.
All committee Republicans and several Democrats voted in favor of moving Dr. Stephen Hahn's nomination to the Senate floor on a 18-5 vote. Hahn is currently the chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Senate health committee ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) voted against Hahn.
Murray said she was skeptical of Hahn's lack of government experience, but her no vote was solidified when during his confirmation hearing Hahn refused to commit to taking off the market non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes that have not undergone FDA review. President Donald Trump said he wanted to ban all flavored vapes in early September, but has since backed off the idea.
"That is a big red flag for me and why I will be voting against his nomination," Murray said.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted to move Hahn's nomination forward, but said he did so with concern about Hahn's position on regulating vaping. Romney said he hoped Hahn would be transparent and potentially consider resignation if he were asked to pursue a policy that contradicted scientific evidence.
During a relatively smooth confirmation hearing on Nov. 20, Hahn told lawmakers he would work with them to combat drug shortages and high prescription drug prices if he is confirmed.
Allowing states to import prescription drugs from Canada is a top healthcare priority for Trump, but Hahn did not commit to furthering the policy during the hearing.