The Senate narrowly confirmed Vivek Murthy to be U.S. surgeon general, making him one of the highest-profile beneficiaries of the Senate's “nuclear option” allowing confirmations on majority votes. Politico reports. The nomination was strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association because of Murthy's support of gun-control laws and by Republicans who doubted that a 37-year-old physician was qualified for the public health position.
Democrats confirmed him, 51-43, with the support of one Republican: Mark Kirk of Illinois. Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposed him; all hail from states where the gun lobby is particularly powerful. The NRA had made Murthy a top target of opposition over his comments in support of gun control laws. Democrats, nervous about angering the gun lobby ahead of the midterm elections, shelved the nomination for much of this year.