Policy groups: Surgeon general vote expected next week

Activists have been told that the Senate plans to take a long-anticipated vote on Dr. Vivek Murthy, the nominee for surgeon general, next week.

The Senate is expected to decide whether to take up the nomination as early as Monday and the vote is expected to take place Thursday or Friday, advocates from the Center for American Progress and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told The Hill.

Pressure has grown to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy, a Yale and Harvard-trained physician, after the federal government was forced to deal with the sudden Ebola threat, as well as leftover challenges with the Affordable Care Act rollout.

One source close to the discussions said, “basically all the leadership offices” were planning on a vote next week, adding that opposition to the nominee has largely faded since he was last floated in March.

The vote would come after a week of intense pressure from health lobbyists, with groups including the American College of Physicians and the American Heart Association canvassing Capitol Hill.

Some of the pressure appears to be working. At least two senators who had previously opposed the nominee, Sens. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown MORE (D-Mont.), told The Huffington Post this week that they would now back him.  

Murthy, an ally of the Obama administration, was first nominated in 2013 but has been kept from a vote, in part, because the powerful National Rifle Association opposed his support for gun control.

But national fear over Ebola has eroded much of the partisan opposition, and Republicans, such as Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE (R-Texas), have since acknowledged that the post needed to be filled.

“Ebola sort of acted as a reset on the conversation around him,” the source said. “There’s really not the same opposition at all.”

A spokesman for Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (D-Ill.) did not return a request for comment about the timing of the vote.