The Senate voted at 5:59pm EST to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as the next Surgeon General of the United States. The final vote was 51 in favor with 43 opposed and 6 not voting. The confirmation of Dr. Murthy could be called the triumph of the lame ducks.
In March, the nomination of Murthy was dead in the water. It was going nowhere because a number of red-state Democrats were up for re-election and knew voting for Murthy would have been the kiss of death.
From the New York Times on March 14th:
The nominee, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, an internist and political ally of the president’s, has come under criticism from the National Rifle Association, and opposition from the gun-rights group has grown so intense that it has placed Democrats from conservative states, several of whom are up for re-election this year, in a difficult spot.
Senate aides said Friday that as many as 10 Democrats are believed to be considering a vote against Dr. Murthy, who has voiced support for various gun control measures like an assault weapons ban, mandatory safety training and ammunition sales limits.
Liberal journalist Dave Weigel attributes the death of the filibuster to putting the pressure on these Democrats. They could no longer hide behind a Republican filibuster to avoid taking a position.
Presumably the 10 Democrats including such “pro-Second Amendment stalwarts” as Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu, and possibly Mark Udall who all lost re-election in November.
It’s funny how a politician’s true colors come out when either they don’t face an election for a number of years or they are being sent home by the voters.
Only three Democrats voted against Murthy: Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). And the rest, including Hagan, Pryor, Begich, Landrieu, and Udall voted for Murthy.
Murthy’s confirmation was the triumph of the lame ducks. Their vote was a big “f*%k you” to the voters of their home states who had just turned them out of office.