The NRA campaign against Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General - because God forbid he thinks gun violence is a public health problem meriting study - is a sign of how bizarre our politics has become. Are Australians less free because they have strict gun control and a very low homicide rate? - gwc
Vote on Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General Nominee, May Be Near - NYTimes.com
by Jeremy Peters
WASHINGTON — The Senate could vote by the end of the week on President Obama's choice for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, whose nomination the White House pulled back on last spring after intense National Rifle Association opposition.
In what would be one of his final acts as majority leader, SenatorHarry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, is leaning toward holding a vote before Congress adjourns, a senior Democratic aide said Monday. When lawmakers return to Washington in January, both the House and Senate will be under Republican control, and Dr. Murthy will stand virtually no chance of confirmation.
Mr. Reid is eager for a resolution to Dr. Murthy's nomination even though he cannot be assured of the outcome, the aide said, speaking anonymously because no final decision has been made.
The White House is guardedly optimistic that Dr. Murthy would be confirmed if a vote is held now. Since Senate Democrats changed filibuster rules for nominees last year, he would need only a simple majority of 51 senators rather than 60. Dr. Murthy has been pressing his case personally, in private meetings with many of the Democrats who were initially wary of supporting him.
When his nomination became imperiled last winter, the trouble stemmed from difficulty with about 10 reluctant Democrats. But now several of those senators have committed to supporting Dr. Murthy or are no longer expressing skepticism.
Some just lost their seats and are freer to vote without fear of political repercussions. Others represent states where a vote against the National Rifle Association could be politically dangerous and waited until after the elections to take a public stance.
Although the surgeon general's office has no formal role in overseeing federal firearms policy, gun rights advocates objected to Dr. Murthy's nomination because of his support for restricting how guns can be purchased and who can own them. Dr. Murthy, an internal medicine physician, has said his concerns about guns stem from his experience in emergency rooms.
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