Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has placed a hold on President Obama’s pick for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, because of the nominee’s political advocacy work. But new filibuster rules will allow the Senate to take a confirmation vote regardless.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Paul said he has “serious concerns about Dr. Murthy’s ability to impartially serve as ‘the Nation’s Doctor’” because the nominee founded a group that supported Obama’s first presidential run and later the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.
Paul also said he is concerned about Murthy’s advocacy for stricter gun-control measures.
Senate rules allow a unanimous voice vote to move the confirmation process to a final vote by the full Senate. But Paul has said he will object to taking the final vote, meaning a cloture vote will be necessary before moving to that stage.
Under previous Senate rules, 60 votes were needed to invoke cloture and advance to a final vote on nominees. But the Senate approved new rules in November to allow a simple majority to move the process forward with most nominees except those for the Supreme Court.
As such, Paul’s hold only forces an additional step — a cloture vote — before the full Senate votes on whether to confirm Murthy.
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