WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s nominee to be surgeon general,Dr. Vivek Murthy,may not have enough support for a Senate confirmation vote. But that didn’t stop moms,dads and their kids from marching to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with petitions supporting Murthy.
Murthy is under attack by gun rights activist for twitter comments in 2012,during the second presidential debate. “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns,putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA,” Murthy tweeted.
Obama nominated Murthy in November. The Health,Education,Labor and Pensions Committee held a confirmation hearing Feb.4,and voted Feb. 27 to send his nomination to the Senate floor. Sen. Mark Kirk,R-Ill.,joined the committee’s Democrats in the 13-9 vote.
Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev.,has not yet scheduled a full Senate vote.
The National Rifle Association and Sen. Mark Begich,D-Alaska,are among those who do not support Murthy.
In a letter he wrote to his constituents,Begich said,“I will very likely vote no on his nomination if it comes to the floor. I share your concern about Dr. Murthy’s views in favor of gun control.”
According to the NRA’s official website,“Murthy’s record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns about his ability to objectively examine issues pertinent to America’s 100 million firearm owners.”
Members of Moms Rising,Move On,CREDO and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence held a rally at the Lutheran Church of Reformation on Capitol Hill in support of Murthy as a nominee. “The gun lobby has made it their mission to block the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy,regardless of the fact that we all know he is overqualified and the leader that we deserve in this nation,” Christian Heyne,Legislative Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,said. “Our senators are legislators that we put in office to protect us,to protect the Constitution,to keep our constituents safe,are catering to a lobby that has nothing to do with public health.”
Mothers and fathers who have been directly affected by gun violence spoke in support of Murthy.
Jeanette Richardson,cofounder of Virginia Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children,told the story of how her son Patrick was murdered. Richardson urged the audience to go forward because she believes the country shouldn’t lose anyone else to gun violence.
“There’s no question that gun violence is a public-health and public-safety problem,” Richardson said. “We must all work to solve this for the sake of our children. We just need to do this.”
After the rally,the group,including children dressed in doctor’s scrubs and stethoscopes,walked to the Senate office buildings to deliver petitions with about 220,000 signatures in support of Murthy.
Reach reporter Sydnei Fryson at [email protected] or 202-326-9861. Stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.