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Capitol Correspondence - 02.02.21

Becerra Nomination Continues to be Delayed in Senate

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Disputes over power-sharing in the Senate are continuing to hold up the nomination of Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services. As an update to previous reporting, we flag this recent article from Politico Pulse:

BECERRA’s HEARINGS HELD UP — The Senate HELP Committee is holding off on tentative plans for Becerra’s Senate hearings, amid a leadership stalemate over the filibuster, POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein reports.

The health panel traditionally holds a hearing on the HHS pick before the Senate Finance Committee votes on confirmation. Those plans were disrupted by lengthy haggling over Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s demand that Democrats commit to preserve the filibuster — though McConnell indicated late Monday that he would back down.

The Finance Committee, meanwhile, confirmed that it’s received and is now reviewing all of Becerra’s required paperwork, but has yet to set a hearing date of its own.

— McConnell also signaled plans to fight Becerra’s confirmation. The top Senate Republican on Monday called Becerra ‘famously partisan.’

‘His recent experience in health policy seems largely limited to promoting abortion on demand and suing groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who dare to live out their religious convictions,’ McConnell said in a floor speech, referring to Becerra’s defense of Obamacare’s contraception mandate during his time as California attorney general.”