Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. (Photo:AP)

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved President Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday, despite an effort by a small group of senators to block the confirmation as a way to demonstrate their objection to the agency’s record on prescription painkillers. 

The Senate voted 89-4 to confirm Dr. Robert Califf to head the agency for the remainder of Obama’s term. The four no votes came from three Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — along with New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte. 

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