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Reps. Chu and Jayapal Urge President-Elect Biden to Appoint Dr. Vivek Murthy to a Cabinet-level Position

November 28, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C.— Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), released the following statement urging President-elect Biden to appoint Dr. Vivek Murthy to a cabinet-level position:

“In the face of an historic public health crisis, President-elect Joe Biden promises to build a government of experienced leaders who reflect the true diversity of this country. Nominating Dr. Vivek Murthy, the current co-chair of the President-elect’s COVID-19 Taskforce, to a Cabinet-level position accomplishes both while also ensuring that the new Administration is ready to tackle this pandemic on Day One.

"Over 265,000 Americans have already died since the start of this crisis. And even as we make progress towards a vaccine, epidemiologists and public health officials warn that the most difficult and deadly days of this pandemic are coming over the next three to four months — just as a new Administration begins. That makes having an experienced public health expert in the Cabinet more important than ever.

“In addition to sending a clear signal that government is returning to normal, a Cabinet-level position for Dr. Murthy would also help fulfill President-elect Biden’s commitment to creating a government that all Americans can see themselves in. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial population in the country and turned out in record numbers to help elect President-elect Biden. And yet, this Administration risks being the first in 20 years to not include an AAPI in the Cabinet. Advocating for diversity while excluding AAPIs risks telling our community that we do not count, and would send the wrong message at a time when there are more highly qualified AAPI candidates who are ready to lead than ever before.

“As our nation continues to confront one of the worst public health crises in over a century, it is imperative that the incoming Cabinet not only reflects the full spectrum of experiences and needs in this country, but also includes someone who will be a trusted voice for public health. That’s exactly why we need Dr. Murthy in the Cabinet. Dr. Murthy served as our country’s surgeon general from 2014-2017, where he helped to tackle our country’s urgent public health issues, including protecting the nation from Ebola and Zika and responding to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care shortages in rural communities. He also created innovative initiatives to address substance use disorders, mental health and loneliness, all of which are worsening during this pandemic. A physician himself, Dr. Murthy knows what it takes to address our shortcomings and set America on the right track to control this virus, something he is demonstrating daily as co-chair of the President-elect’s COVID-19 Taskforce. As a Cabinet official, Dr. Murthy would utilize his proven ability to lead in times of crisis and serve as an important voice for public health, an issue that is often overlooked until there is an immediate threat.”