The National Rifle Association (NRA) has brought out the big guns to stop the U.S. Senate from confirming President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general.
Late Friday, Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action released a letter he sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to notify them that his organization “strongly opposes” confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy.
A spokesman for the NRA told me that the five-million member organization will score the Senate vote, meaning that it counts toward a member’s rating in campaigns.
The NRA decision will undoubtedly make vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in the midterms reconsider voting party line on this nominee.
On Thursday, Democrat-controlled Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the nomination. Afterwards, Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, said he will put a “hold” on Dr. Murthy’s nomination because of the nominee's inexperience and gun-control positions.
However, Mr. Reid’s new Senate rules mean Mr. Paul's attempted filibuster won't take effects because nominees can be confirmed with only 51 votes.
Mr. Cox wrote the Senate leaders that, “Dr. 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 firearms owners and the likelihood he would use the Office of Surgeon General to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership.”
The NRA letter lists Dr. Murthy’s gun-control, activist history.
He started “Doctors for Obama” in 2008 to support the candidate and his health care reform plans, which later became Obamacare.
Dr. Murthy changed the group’s name to “Doctors for America” and uses the group to lobby for Mr. Obama’s gun-control legislation in the Senate last year.
However, Dr. Murthy’s group advocated for even more restrictive laws from Congress in 2013, such as a federal buyback of so-called assault weapons.
He pushed for mandatory training and licensing before being allowed to purchase ammunition or a firearms and a federal 48-hour waiting period for buying a gun and limiting ammunitions purchases.
Dr. Murthy has made his views known on Twitter:
"Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue. #debatehealth" (16 Oct. 2012)
“NRA press conference disappointing but predictable - blame everything in the world except guns for the Newtown tragedy. #wakeup.” (21 Dec. 2012)
“Signs of progress-we got 20 votes in the senate in favor of gun violence legislation that we wouldn't have had 1 year ago. Have faith.” ( 21 April 2013)
Dr. Richard Carmona, a former surgeon general, wrote to the president to oppose Dr. Murthy’s nomination.
In an interview this week, Dr. Carmona said, “I don't think he has the qualifications. He’s just a few years out of medical training and has done some volunteer work and started a software company."
“The surgeon general needs to be independent. Your job is to tell the truth about science and facts. It’s not about Democrat or Republican,” Dr. Carmona told me. “As soon as you get into defending or supporting a party’s political position, then that undermines and diminishes the Office of the Surgeon General.”
Mr. Reid has not yet announced when the full Senate will vote on Dr. Murthy's nomination.
So the timing is right for the NRA to try to stop this unqualified, anti-gun radical from becoming the next “Nation’s Doctor.”
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of "Emily Gets Her Gun" (Regnery, 2013).
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