Biden takes shot at Senate at surgeon general swearing-in

Biden takes shot at Senate at surgeon general swearing-in

Vice President Biden jabbed the Senate for the delay in confirming a new surgeon general at the swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.

Dr. Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyThe Surgeon General's deafening silence on gun violence We must act to address gun violence The Hill's Morning Report — Dem ire at Barr intensifies MORE waited more than a year to be confirmed by the Senate before finally getting through in December. 

“Thankfully, the people that held up the nomination don’t have to wait that long for a doctor’s appointment,” Biden said Wednesday at the ceremonial swearing-in of Murthy, who has already been officially sworn in and serving. 


Murthy’s nomination was opposed by Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats over concerns about his experience, whether he was too partisan and his support for gun control. 

Biden described him as “eminently qualified” Wednesday, while both he and Murthy steered clear of the gun issue. 

Murthy did address the struggle over his nomination without getting into specifics.

“I almost didn’t get to be your surgeon general,” he said. 

He thanked the people who worked for his confirmation, and said, “We got here by standing on principle.”

“Here’s the thing about standing on principle,” he added. “You have to remain standing.”

Murthy said at his confirmation hearing he does not plan to use the job as “bully pulpit” for gun control. 

He did wade into another controversial issue in his speech Wednesday, though. “We have to fight back against climate change, which poses a global threat to public health,” he said. 

He also targeted violence against women, obesity and heroin use. Tobacco was a particular focus as well.

“I want 100 percent smoke-free campuses at every college and university in America,” Murthy said, adding the federal government should make all of its buildings and public housing smoke-free as well. 

Murthy’s nomination had been prominently opposed by the National Rifle Association, which publicized tweets where he called guns a “public health issue” and said members of Congress were “scared of the NRA.”