The Senate finally voted to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States by a 51-43 vote.
As Huffington Post reports, Murthy’s confirmation was being held up by many Senate Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposed Murthy because of comments he once made about guns being “a healthcare issue.” Only one Republican (Mark Kirk of Illinois) voted for Murthy, while three Democrats voted against.
The 36-year-old is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Medicine. More recently, he has worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Murthy has previously stated that if confirmed, one of his priorities would be to find ways to curb obesity.
The post had been left vacant since July 2013 when Regina Benjamin resigned. Benjamin’s deputy, Boris Lushniak, as been serving as acting surgeon general while the Obama Administration searched for a replacement and Senate Republicans blocked Murthy’s confirmation from consideration on the Senate floor.
President Obama issued a statement on the White House website Monday night after news of the confirmation broke. It reads, part:
“As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong.”
More of President Obama’s nominations are scheduled to be voted on Tuesday.