Satcher Confirmed As Surgeon General
Clinton commends senators after the vote
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 10) -- On a 63-35 vote, the Senate Tuesday confirmed Dr. David Satcher as the next surgeon general.
"I can think of no one better qualified to be surgeon
general," the Senate's only physician, Sen. Bill Frist, (R-Tenn.) said after the vote.
The Senate also confirmed Satcher to be an assistant secretary for health. The surgeon general's position has been vacant since 1994 when Joycelyn Elders resigned.
In a written statement, President Bill Clinton praised the Senate's decision, and said Satcher will be a key player in the government's effort to curb teen smoking.
"No one is better qualified than Dr. Satcher to be America's doctor," Clinton said. "This year, Dr. Satcher will be a leading voice as we work to pass comprehensive legislation that will help to free our children from the grip of tobacco."
Satcher was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.
His nomination had been stalled in the Senate for months. Several senators, led by Republican John Ashcroft of Missouri, complained about Satcher's opposition to legislation banning some late-term abortion procedures. They were also upset over a Centers for Disease Control study of AIDS in Africa in which some patients were given placebos instead of medication.
"I believe that America deserves better. America deserves higher quality. America deserves a higher standard of ethics," Ashcroft said.
Before the confirmation vote, the Senate voted 75-23
to end debate and permit a decision. On the final tally, 19 Republicans joined 44 Democrats in voting for Satcher's nomination. Thirty-five Republicans voted against it.