The White House is considering delaying or withdrawing its nominee for U.S. surgeon general, The New York Times reported Friday.
The vote for Vivek Hallegere Murthy could fail in the Senate over backlash from his gun control advocacy and vulnerable Democrats who don't want to take another tough vote on a controversial nominee.
Last month, the NRA sent a letter to members of Congress voicing its opposition to Murthy for a number of positions he has advocated, including banning semi-automatic weapons, licensing requirements for ammunition sales and a gun buyback program.
“The American people deserve a Surgeon General who will carry out the mission of the office unmotivated by political or ideological goals,” NRA executive director Chris Cox said in the letter.
The White House said it is recalibrating its strategy around his floor vote but eventually expects him to be confirmed.
Democrats and the White House do not want a rehash of the failed confirmation vote earlier this month of Debo Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Seven Democrats joined with Republicans to vote down his nomination after criticism from police unions about his involvement in the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
It was the first time one of Obama’s nominees was voted down since Democrats changed the rules in the Senate to require only a 51-vote threshold to advance most nominees, rather than the usual 60 votes to break a filibuster.
A number of vulnerable Democrats voted for Adegbile despite being voted down, exposing them to criticism with nothing to show for it.