The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has been very busy lately.
The upper chamber confirmed Dr. Stephen Hahn as the new head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, taking charge at a regulatory agency that oversees products ranging from complex cancer drugs, to food, cosmetics, and tobacco.
The Senate voted 72 to 18 to confirm Hahn as commissioner, with dozens of Democrats voting in favor of President Donald Trump’s pick.
His predecessor Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down in April, was well regarded by public health advocates and won bipartisan support for his efforts to curb youth use of flavored e-cigarettes.
Hahn is a radiation oncologist who has been with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since 2015 and experts had highlighted his status as an outsider likely played a role in his nomination by President Donald Trump.
The Senate has been busy getting things passed and officials nominated.
Last week, the Senate confirmed Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe to be the director of national intelligence.
Ratcliffe was confirmed by 49 to 44, with all “yes” votes coming from Trump’s fellow Republicans and all “no” votes from Democrats.
The Senate also previously confirmed Jeffrey Rosen as the No. 2 official at the Justice Department after Attorney General William Barr recommended Rosen for the job to Trump.
Rosen, who most recently served as the deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation, was confirmed along party lines by a vote of 52 to 45.
As deputy attorney general, Rosen will oversee the day-to-day operation of an agency that employs more than 100,000 people at prosecutors’ offices, federal prisons, and FBI offices across the country.
The Senate also recently passed a bill that just about everyone will support.
The Senate passed an anti-robocaller bill aimed at cracking down on the billions of irritating and deceptive robocalls that Americans receive each month.
The Senate, on a voice vote, approved the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which would give the Federal Communications Commission the power to slap fines of up to $10,000 on robocallers and extend the statute of limitations to four years.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously, on a voice vote, following House approval.
Once it becomes law, as expected, voice service providers will be required to adopt call authentication technologies to help carriers determine if calls are legitimate.
We also have Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham holding hearings this week into the origins of the Russia hoax.
Graham revealed the names of 4 top Obama-era officials that he plans to call to testify before his committee to determine whether any laws were broken when Obama’s FBI and DOJ spied on members of the Trump campaign and investigated alleged “collusion.”
Last month, the Department of Justice filed to dismiss its criminal case against former White House national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn after newly revealed documents surfaced.
In the newly released documents, we learned that the FBI had drawn up paperwork to close the case against Flynn, but fired agent Peter Strzok made a last-minute move to keep it open.
Handwritten notes from the FBI — which were withheld from Flynn’s defense team for years — show that a key goal of the agents investigating Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”