Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a ‘dear colleague’ letter to all U.S. Senators urging support for Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy. Casey urged Senators to vote in favor of Murthy in order to address urgent public health challenges that the country faces.
“I voted for Vivek Murthy’s nomination as a member of the HELP Committee and believe he will play an important role in the work our nation needs to do to address our current public health challenges,” Senator Casey said. “I’m encouraging all Senators to support Dr. Murthy’s nomination to the position of Surgeon General. He’s ready to go to work and do an excellent job on behalf of the American people.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
I write today to urge your support of Dr. Vivek Murthy, the nominee to serve as the next Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Murthy’s nomination was approved by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in February, but has yet to be taken up by the full Senate.
I am concerned that his nomination stalled over policy matters that are outside the scope of the position. As Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy he has personally assured me, and stated publicly, that his focus as Surgeon General would be on chronic disease and obesity, two of the most serious threats facing the health of the American people. We should not let his confirmation stall over public policy debates unrelated to the position in which he would serve.
In the months since Dr. Murthy was nominated, our Nation has faced a new public health threat, in the form of the first multi-nation Ebola epidemic. At a time when the American public is worried and unsure of what might happen, the role of “America’s Doctor” remains unfilled. Having a Surgeon General in place during public health emergencies or emerging situations provides an additional trusted voice that can communicate with the public and help address their concerns.
Furthermore, leaving the role of Surgeon General unfilled also means that the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps has been operating under interim leadership for over a year now. The dedicated medical professionals in the Commissioned Corps deserve to have appropriate leadership.
Dr. Murthy’s nomination is supported by a broad coalition of public health advocates, state and local public health officials, and professional groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Public Health Association. It is past time to confirm a new Surgeon General, and I hope you will join me in supporting Dr. Murthy’s confirmation before the end of the year.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator