Politico is reporting that Democrats may use their lasts days in control of the U.S. Senate to push through confirmation of President Obama’s controversial nominee to be the next Surgeon General.
Vivek Murthy, a British-born surgeon and Obama supporter, has argued that crimes committed with a gun are a healthcare issue and wants his office to enlist doctors nationwide into the gun control debate. His non-profit Doctors for America has advocated for ammunition purchasing limits, AR-15 bans and national firearms registration.
“As health care professionals who are confronted with the human cost of gun violence every day, we are unwavering in our belief that strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately,” Murthy’s organization wrote in a January 2013 letter to Congress. “There is no single provision that will stop these tragedies from happening, so we must approach the issue from all available angles — just as we have successfully approached other threats to public health such as motor vehicle accident deaths and deaths from fire and drowning.”
His views on firearm ownership scuttled his nomination earlier this year as Democrats worried about reelection pulled their support. Recent polls show few Americans believe guns are a health care issue.
But now red state Democrats are free support Murthy since many lost their seats and won’t again face voters over the gun issue. The Huffington Post reports that ousted Democratic Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) have pledged their support.
Pro-gun activists backed by the National Rifle Association say Murthy’s views on guns “would turn a fundamental, constitutionally-protected right into a privilege for the few.”
“Given Dr. Murthy’s lengthy history of hostility toward the right to keep and bear arms, along with his calls for the full weight of the federal government’s health apparatus to be used to target lawful gun ownership, there is little reason to believe that he would not work to further a gun control agenda if confirmed as surgeon general,” the NRA wrote in a letter to Congress. “Simply put, confirmation of Dr. Murthy is a prescription for disaster for America’s gun owners.”
The Senate may vote on Murthy's confirmation late this week before Congress recesses for the year.