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) TesterVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Democrats aim to block defense money from being used on Trump border wall 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 Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers 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 DurbinCongress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break Democrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds MORE (D-Ill.) did not return a request for comment about the timing of the vote.