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.

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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 PryorTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation MORE (D-Ark.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats cry foul over Schiff backlash Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Nadler gets under GOP's skin 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 CruzRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Texas House special election to gauge suburban mood Texas Democrats roll out plan to win state House in November 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 Republicans face pivotal moment on impeachment witnesses Democrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Ill.) did not return a request for comment about the timing of the vote.