The Slatest

New Surgeon General Finally Approved After NRA Sparks Yearlong Confirmation Battle

Dr. Vivek Murthy during the first day of legal arguments over the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court in March 2012.

Reuters/Jason Reed

The Senate voted to confirm President Obama’s pick for surgeon general on Monday, concluding a confirmation process that lasted more than a year. Obama chose Dr. Vivek Murthy as the country’s top doctor way back in November of last year. The 37-year-old is a physician in Boston and instructor at Harvard Medical School, as well as co-founder of the group Doctors for America, which advocated for the Affordable Care Act. Murthy’s confirmation, however, was derailed not by debate over his medical credentials in the Senate—but by the National Rifle Association.

Why? “Though the surgeon general’s office does not set or implement gun policy, Dr. Murthy’s support for banning the sale of certain weapons and ammunition, as well as implementing longer waiting periods for firearms sales, drew the ire of gun rights advocates like the National Rifle Association,” the New York Times reports.

Tweets like these from Murthy irked the NRA, which went on the offensive, lobbying to block the confirmation.

“Murthy’s nomination was endorsed by more than 100 health organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association,” the Associated Press reports. “At a Senate hearing in February, Murthy said he wouldn’t use the position to push gun control. He said his priorities include fighting obesity and helping communities promote healthier living.”

The Senate confirmed Murthy by a 51-to-43 vote on Monday evening.