The Senate on Monday approved President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general, despite opposition from Republicans and some Democrats over his support for gun control and past statements that gun violence is a public health issue.
Murthy, 37, a physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School, won confirmation on a vote of 51-43. He’s a co-founder of Doctors for America, a group that has pushed for affordable health care and supports Obama’s health care law.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said most of Murthy’s career has been spent as an activist focused on gun control and other political issues, rather than on treating patients. “Americans don’t want a surgeon general who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution,” Barrasso said.
Supporters said Murthy is well-qualified and noted his promise not to use the position as a bully pulpit for gun control.
The nation has been without a Senate-confirmed surgeon general since July 2013. The surgeon general does not set policy but is an advocate for the people’s health.
Murthy’s confirmation “makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. Murthy “will also help us build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source” in West Africa.
Yes, we’ve been without a surgeon general for over a year and I don’t know of a single person who missed him.
His promise not to push gun control? Anyone who believes that needs to pull their head out of the sand. People in Washington don’t keep their promises, especially ones who are hand-picked by his royal assness and plunked into key positions.
In a letter to Vice-President Joe Biden, Dr. Murthy clearly outlines his group’s proposals for helping curb gun violence. The first, a predictable one, is to eliminate what he calls “military-style guns and ammunition” from the private sector. He writes,
“Medications and medical devices are pulled from the market when their risks outweigh their benefits. So should we rethink the weapons that we allow on our streets.” The letter also calls for strengthening government oversight on gun ownership, stating,“Pharmacies track and limit the purchase of pseudoephedrine to prevent the manufacture of crystalline methamphetamine. Every state requires a driver’s license and car registration in order to drive, and physicians certify those who should no longer drive because they would be a grave danger to themselves and others. We should approach the purchase, transfer, and operation of guns and ammunition with similar rigor.”
Between his attitude on gun control and the effects of O’care, our future is looking rather grim, to say the least.