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Bernie-Biden showdown update

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters at the White House

Sanders speaks to reporters at the White House after a meeting with President Biden in 2021. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's not looking super-likely that the nomination of President Biden's choice for NIH director, Monica Bertagnolli, is going to be moving any time soon.

Driving the news: Axios caught up with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has demanded a plan to lower drug prices from the administration before he moves forward with health nominees, in the hall Tuesday.

  • "No, we have not gotten a pricing plan from the administration," Sanders said. "The high cost of prescription drugs now and in the future is a great crisis for American health care; we have to deal with it."

Between the lines: Is the administration working on a plan? There's no sign of it. A Sanders aide said the administration has not given a sense of whether a plan is coming or not.

  • Asked for comment, the White House pointed to drug pricing actions already in motion, notably the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • 'The president shares the senator’s concerns on drug pricing," a White House official said. "That’s why he signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, the most consequential law addressing the high cost of prescription drugs."

What we're watching: Sanders isn't the only hurdle in the Senate. Elizabeth Warren wants Bertagnolli to commit to not working for a pharmaceutical company for four years after leaving NIH.

  • Warren told Axios she met with Bertagnolli on Tuesday but does not yet have a "clear answer" on whether the nominee will make that commitment.
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