Xavier Becerra: What to know about Biden’s HHS secretary pick

Xavier Becerra: What to know about Biden’s HHS secretary pick

President
Joe
Biden
surprised
the
medical
community
when
he
nominated
California
Attorney
General

Xavier
Becerra
to
serve
on
his
cabinet
as
Secretary
of
Health
and
Human
Services.

While
Becerra
has
a
history
of
fighting
for
the
Affordable
Care
Act,
he
lacks
any

medical
background
to
support
his
intended
role
as
a
top
U.S.
health
official

a
factor
that
some
conservatives
have
taken
issue
with.


Who
is
Xavier
Becerra?

Biden
pledged
to
make
his
cabinet
reflect
“the
most
diverse
Cabinet
in
history,”
which
he
has
done
through
several
historical
nominations

but
Becerra’s
appointment
has
been
one
of
the
president’s
more
controversial
picks.

Under
Becerra,
the
state
of
California
sued
President
Trump
over

100
times
on
cases
focused
on
immigration,
the
environment,
and healthcare.

“With
the
NEPA
[National
Environmental
Policy
Act]
lawsuit,
we
have
sued
@realDonaldTrump
100
times,”
Becerra
wrote
in
an
August
tweet.
“And
while
we
don’t
go
looking
for
a
fight,
we’re
prepared
to
act
when
the
people,
resources,
and
values
of
California
are
at
stake.”


Why
Biden
chose
him

Becerra
took
on
the
Trump
administration
on
healthcare
and
abortion when
he
led
a
coalition
of
23
states,
and
the
District
of
Colombia,
in
challenging
the
Trump-Pence
Administration’s
Title
X rule
in
the
Supreme
Court.

The
rule
restricted
doctors’
ability to
refer
patients
for
abortion
procedures.

“A patient’s
medical
decisions
are
between
her
and
her
doctor
or
healthcare
provider,
not
between
her
and
the
President
or
Vice
President,”
Becerra
said
in
an
October statement. “Once
again,
this
Administration
is
playing
games
with
reproductive
healthcare,
putting
politics
ahead
of
patients.”

His
stance
has
made
him
a
controversial
pick
with
anti-choice
Republicans.

The
California
Democrat
has
also
appeared
in
Supreme
Court
to
defend
the
Affordable
Care
Act,
leading
a
coalition
of
20
states
in
California
vs.
Texas
after
Republican
lawmakers
sought
to
dismantle
the
federal
healthcare
program.


What
do
Republicans
think
about
him?

Becerra’s
background
in
fighting
for
the
ACA
and
abortion
rights
has
led
some
Republicans
to
condemn
the
pick
and
say
he
undercuts
Biden
pledge
to
bridge
the
partisan
divide.

The
most
recent
condemnation
of
Becerra
came
from
Arkansas
Republican
Sen.
Tom
Cotton,
who
claimed
the
California
attorney
general
was
“not
qualified”
to
fill the
role
and
accused
him
of
being
a
“partisan
culture
warrior,”
in
an

op-ed
he
penned
for
Fox
News
Thursday.

“Becerra
has
targeted
social
conservatives,
religious
groups,
and
others
who
deny
the
Democratic
Party’s
dogmas
about
life,
marriage,
and
the
family,”
Cotton
wrote.

“Any
senator
who
supports
his
nomination
will
bear
responsibility
for
his
all-too-predictable
radical
actions
in
office,”
he
added,
suggesting
that
Biden’s
HHS
pick
could
face
difficulty
getting
through
his
Senate
confirmation
hearings.

Montana
Republican
Steve
Daines
has
also
voiced
his
frustration
at
Biden’s
HHS
pick,
taking
to
Twitter
following
the
then
president-elect’s
nomination
of
the
California
attorney
general
last
month.

“Xavier
Becerra
is
a
disaster
for
religious
freedom
and
pro-life
issues,”
Sen.
Steve
Daines,
R-Mont.,
said
on
Twitter
following
Biden’s
announcement.
“He
has
made
his
career
aggressively
pursuing
a
radical
pro-abortion
agenda
and
attacking
the
religious
freedom
of
Americans
who
believe
in
the
sanctity
of
human
life.”

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With
a
split
Senate,
it
is
unclear
if
Biden’s
pick
for
HHS
Secretary
will
be
able
to
scrape
through
the
confirmation
process,
though
it
is
likely. 

The
date
for
Becerra’s
hearing
has
not
been
set
yet.


Howard
Kurtz
contributed
to
this
report.

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