President Barack Obama’s surgeon general pick will likely get a confirmation vote before the end of the year, after being blocked for much of the year because of his anti-gun comments.
Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next U.S. surgeon general, testifies on Capitol Hill, Feb. 4, 2014, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to schedule a confirmation vote for Dr. Vivek Murthy, a controversial nominee for the relatively low-profile position, The Hill reported.
Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, had blocked the Murthy nomination, citing his anti-gun comments and overly political work as an Obama campaign advocate.
A senior Democratic aide told CBS News that Murthy would likely get a vote during the final days that Democrats maintain control of the Senate.
Before the November midterms, many red-state Democrats opposed Murthy’s nomination. But recently, Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jon Tester of Montana announced they would support his nomination.
Murthy is the founder of Doctors for America, which grew from the campaign organization Doctors for Obama, which started in 2008. The organization has advocated for Obamacare, as well as the Obama administration’s failed push for expanding gun control laws in 2013. Doctors for America has referred to guns as a public health threat, and circulated a petition to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun laws.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Murthy tweeted: “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”
The Senate Democratic majority changed the rules last year to lower the threshold from 60 votes to a simple majority to get a vote on a nominee.
Murthy is one of 172 pending nominees in waiting that includes nine judicial nominees.
“You know, maybe we’ll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week,” Reid said, according to The Hill. “I’ve given a list to the Republicans and it’s up to them to decide how long we stay.”
Other Obama nominees still waiting for a vote include Sarah Saldaña to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whom Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called a “rubber stamp for amnesty”; Carolyn Colvin to run the Social Security Administration, whom Republicans criticize for her job as acting chief; and Antonio Weiss to be Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, who is facing strong oppositions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), because of his previous employment with a banking investment firm.