For nine months, Biden struggled to find a candidate who is both qualified and could win Senate confirmation. The White House ruled out Woodcock after it became clear she would face steep opposition from a handful of lawmakers, including West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, for how liberally the FDA approved opioids when she ran the drug division within the agency.
The deadline comes as the White House has another key health leadership role to fill, with the decision of Dr. Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director, to step down by the end of the year. Collins has led the agency for more than a decade.
Sources close to the FDA nomination process have said the administration spent time over the last 10 months looking at recommendations for the role, including from former FDA commissioners, and even putting some candidates through a vetting process, only to come up short so far.
Complicating matters even more is some recent internal turmoil at the agency.