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Sen. Rand Paul places hold on Obama’s surgeon general nominee

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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.

MORE: Republicans question surgeon general nominee over advocacy for health-care law

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.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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Josh Hicks · February 26, 2014

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