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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Trump's nominee to head the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, has previously proposed a controversial plan: speed up the process for drug approvals under the agency and have politically appointed officials, not doctors, decide which drugs will be approved.

The inspiration: The European Medicines Agency — the European counterpart to the FDA — evaluates new drugs using "a body of politically appointed (and therefore politically accountable) officials, drawn from the European Commission." That means the FDA's European counterpart drug approval process exists outside the agency that evaluates them.

Why it matters: This plan could hurt the FDA's credibility, as drug approvals would become politically motivated by the appointed body Gottlieb proposed.

The FDA's drug approval process is already faster than the European Union's agency. Researchers found that the FDA took an average of 306 days to approve 170 drugs for marketing in the US, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The European Medicines Agency spent an average of 383 days to approve 144 new drugs for marketing, the study found, so many are challenging the efficacy of Gottlieb's plan to change the review process in the US.

Go deeper

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

Exclusive: Hundreds of kids held in Border Patrol stations

Migrants cross the Rio Bravo to get to El Paso, Texas. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were in Border Patrol custody as of Sunday, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection document obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The current backup is yet another sign of a brewing crisis for President Biden — and a worsening dilemma for these vulnerable children. Biden is finding it's easier to talk about preventing warehousing kids at the southern border than solving the problem.

Pompeo plots 2024 power play

Mike Pompeo in Washington on Feb. 12. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Mike Pompeo has quickly reentered the political fray, raising money for Republicans, addressing key political gatherings and joining an advocacy group run by Donald Trump's former lawyer.

Why it matters: The former secretary of state is widely considered a potential 2024 presidential contender. His professional moves this week indicate he's working to keep his name in the headlines and bolster a political brand built largely on foreign policies easily contrasted with the Biden White House.