Obamacare does not hold up sensitive nominations in the Senate these days. The National Rifle Association does, Politico reports. The White House's pick to serve as the nation's top doctor, Vivek Murthy, has been stalled since February because the NRA opposes him. There's no sign of movement and no clear strategy to get a Senate vote on the surgeon general nominee, supporters say.
With the NRA actively against him, few Democratic lawmakers are eager to force a fight with the group, given the vulnerability of Democrats running for reelection in red states this fall. “The only ones that were opposed to him is the National Rifle Association, and it's a shame that an entity like that can call the shots — poor choice of words — on who is going to be the surgeon general,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). The NRA's position is “only based upon Dr. Murthy's statement where he said that gun deaths in America [are] a public health problem. Who can disagree with that? It's the public that's dying out there in record numbers,” added Harkin. The NRA, as well as some Republicans, say past Murthy statements in support of gun control indicate that he could use the surgeon general job to promote anti-gun policies. Murthy said he would not focus on gun violence.