After 17 months of vacancy, the Senate voted to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as America’s new Surgeon General Monday.
Murthy not only fills a position that has been empty since July 2013, he’s made history as the youngest appointed U.S. Surgeon General and the first of Indian descent.
That’s big news. Both for the nation and the National Rifle Association (NRA), who are no doubt unhappy about Murthy’s new job.
“Dr. Vivek Murthy is an MD and an MBA,” NPR’s Tamara Keith reported in March. “He practices and teaches at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and teaches at Harvard Medical School. He co-founded a clinical trials company, an HIV education organization and Doctors for America, formerly known as Doctors for Obama. And he isn’t even 40 yet.”
But the National Rifle Association was unhappy with the choice of Murthy, citing tweets he had written criticizing both guns and the NRA.
“The NRA told lawmakers a vote for Murthy would be scored against them,” Keith reported. “It seems the fact that question could even be asked was enough to put Murthy’s nomination on ice.”
The NRA also viewed Doctors for America as being against guns.
“The group advocated for the president’s health care law, but that’s not what got Murthy hung up in the Senate,” NPR’s Mara Liasson reports today for All Things Considered. “Doctors for America also supports stricter gun control laws, including background checks, mandatory safety training and banning certain semiautomatic weapons.”
But Murthy is less focused on guns, according to NPR, and more focused on battling obesity.
“Dr. Murthy’s views that he expressed many years ago is in complete congruence with the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics,” Dr. Chris Lillis, the Virginia state director for Doctors for America tells Liasson. “He said nothing different than what the rest of the public heath establishment has said.”
President Obama released this statement following Murthy’s confirmation:
Congratulations to Dr. Murthy. Find out more about the youngest surgeon general (including his marital status and what’s in his fridge) here.