Senate Approves Vivek Murthy as U.S. General Surgeon, After NRA Opposition Drew Out the Confirmation Process For a Year
After opposition from mostly Republican lawmakers, the Senate approved Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. surgeon general on Monday. With a final tally of 51-43, the year-long confirmation process finally ended, after Murthy's nomination by President Obama back in November 2013.
The 37-year-old doctor is currently a physician at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Murthy is both a Harvard and a Yale graduate (who is this magical person??) and a founder of Doctors for America, a national grass-roots organization of some 16,000 doctors and medical students that strongly advocates for Obamacare.
For all his achievements, the GOP resisted his nomination due to what they called his "inexperience" — Murthy completed his medical residency in 2006 — and political views. His support for gun control prompted strong opposition form the National Rifle Association (NRA) — which further proves the NRA's clout in Capitol Hill.
Nevertheless, the British-born, Indian-American doctor, who has both medical and business degrees — he is an MD and an MBA — was endorsed by more than 100 health organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, according to USA Today.
In a statement on Murthy's confirmation, President Obama made no mention of gun policies or the doctor's politics in a statement on the confirmation vote. The president said Murthy would bring his "lifetime of experience promoting public health" to the position, adding:
In a Senate floor speech, Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin defended Murthy’s credentials and pointed out that gun violence is a public-health issue. He said:
Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican politician from Wyoming and an orthopedic surgeon, questioned both Murthy's medical experience and his political leanings. USA Today reported that the senator had said:
Some Democrats also voted against his appointment. Bloomberg reported Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia saying in a statement:
But Murthy has affirmed before that as America's top doctor, he wouldn't use the position for advocating gun control — instead, reported AP, Murthy said his priorities lie in fighting obesity and promoting healthier living in communities.
Images: Vivek Murthy, Twitter/Screenshot