Dr. Vivek Murthy Confirmed As Surgeon General, With An Assist From Ted Cruz
After 517 days without the nation’s top doctor in place, the Senate confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general this afternoon by a vote of 51-43. This is an important victory for Americans, who now have a qualified public health leader and communicator-in-chief. It represents a defeat for the NRA — Murthy’s confirmation is the first time the NRA has been defeated on a scored vote since August 5, 2010. And it may not have happened without an unexpected gift from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
On Friday, with the controversial government spending bill still not passed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thought they had an agreement to adjourn for the weekend and return Monday to vote on the so-called ‘Cromnibus’ bill. Under the deal, which required unanimous consent from all Senators, Republicans would also be able to vote Monday on a “constitutional point of order” to register their displeasure with President Obama’s immigration action. But Cruz and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) refused to wait until Monday, demanding the symbolic immigration vote then. When Reid refused, they in turn refused to give their consent to adjourn, leaving the Senate in session over the weekend. This tactic, however, had an unintended consequence for the hard-line conservatives: it allowed Senate Democrats to speed up confirmation for a number of key Obama nominations whose fate was still in question, including Dr. Murthy. Now, the only thing Cruz and friends have to show for their supposed hardball is the confirmation of a surgeon general they opposed on false grounds.
Here at CAP Action, we have been hard at work advocating for the confirmation of Dr. Murthy. And to be sure, it was a diverse group of progressive advocates who pushed the Senate during this lame duck session into giving the surgeon general nominee a vote. But today, in the holiday spirit of giving, we wanted to make sure Sen. Cruz also got a message of our appreciation. So we sent him a teddy bear.
Give Sen. Cruz your thanks as well by sharing this graphic with your social networks! Share on Twitter or share on Facebook.
Let’s remember, this isn’t the first time Cruz has taken a stance with the unintended consequence of helping those he opposes. Last year, he led the charge to shut down the government over funding the Affordable Care Act. And for three weeks during the botched roll-out of HealthCare.gov, when the nation’s attention could have squarely been on the mistake, it instead was also focused on blaming Cruz and his fellow conservatives for a government shutdown that cost $24 billion.
(Speaking of which: today is the last day to enroll in affordable health coverage on the exchange staring January 1! You could save money by shopping around.)
BOTTOM LINE: America now has the qualified surgeon general it needs. Many strong advocates played an important role in making it happen, but we also owe our gratitude to Ted Cruz for the important role he played as well. So Senator Cruz, our sincere thanks.
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