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Senate Confirms Benjamin as Surgeon General

The Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Regina Benjamin to serve as surgeon general.The move comes after a day during which Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pleaded with Republicans to reach an agreement to consider a host of nominees. Republicans, saying they want time to debate, have opposed moving ahead on Health and Human Services nominees over a “gag order— on insurance companies critical of Democratic-led health care reform legislation. With Benjamin’s approval Thursday evening, that stalemate appears to have been broken.“As we move in Congress to enact health reform that puts a sharp new emphasis on keeping Americans healthy, rather than treating them once they become ill, it is reassuring to know that we have a Surgeon General who will back our efforts at the highest levels of public health,— Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in a statement. Harkin’s panel approved Benjamin’s nomination Oct. 7.

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