Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump defends push to ban flavored e-cigarettes: Let's 'keep young children from Vaping!' Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (D-Ill.) sparred about the qualifications of Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyWe must act to address gun violence The Hill's Morning Report — Dem ire at Barr intensifies Bill and Chelsea Clinton announce podcast launch for summer MORE to be surgeon general of the Public Health Service.

Later Monday, the Senate is expected to vote on his confirmation.


Barrasso, who is a physician, said he is concerned Murthy will use the position to advance his personal ideology. Murthy has advocated for more gun control, saying it’s a public health issue. He also formed a group called Doctors for Obama during the presidential campaign.

“Gun violence is a public health issue — no apology necessary,” Durbin said on the Senate floor Monday.

Barrasso said Murthy doesn’t have enough experience because he only completed his medical education in 2006. He said Obama’s nomination of Murthy was “embarrassing.”

Durbin said what was embarrassing was that the position has been vacant for so long. Murthy’s nomination has been sitting on the executive calendar since February and the position has been vacant since July 2013.

“We ought to have a surgeon general in the United States of America,” Durbin said. “He is a leading voice in public health.”

Durbin pointed out that while Murthy’s nomination has been pending, the country has had to deal with an Ebola outbreak — the surgeon general would oversee the U.S. response to the epidemic.