The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Vivek Murthy as U.S. surgeon general, a role he held during former President Barack Obama's second term. Seven Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in the 57 to 43 vote. President Biden has pledged that Murthy, an ally and adviser since the Obama administration, "will be a key public voice on the COVID response to restore public trust and faith in science and medicine." The surgeon general is typically more a spokesperson for public health issues than a policymaker.
Murthy, 43, is the first, and still the only, Senate-confirmed Asian American surgeon general, The Washington Post reports. His 2013 nomination was stalled for more than a year over objections from gun organizations to his stance, still espoused, that gun violence is a public health crisis. Former President Donald Trump ousted him in 2017, before his term was up, replacing him with Jerome Adams; Biden forced Adams out in January, and Susan Orsega, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, has served in an acting capacity since Biden's inauguration.