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The Senate on Monday narrowly confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick for surgeon general after fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association and gun-rights advocates in Congress.

Democrats powered Vivek Murthy’s nomination through in a 51-43 vote, with support from only one Republican -- Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed through the nomination before Congress adjourned for the year and Republican’s take the majority in the upper chamber.

Obama nominated Murthy a year ago as the top U.S. public health official, but his confirmation was delayed after the NRA argued he would use the position to advocate for changing the nation’s gun laws. The NRA influence was enough to convince some Senate Democrats not to back Murthy until after the midterm elections.

Republicans, and some Democrats, also objected to Murthy for his previous political activism, such as when he co-founded Doctors for Obama in 2008.

Murthy has been working as an internal medicine physician in Massachusetts and is on the staff of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


-- Andrew Rafferty and Frank Thorp V