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Capitol Correspondence - 02.15.21

Hearing Date Set for Becerra Nomination for HHS Secretary

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As reported by Politico Pro:

“The Senate HELP Committee announced Tuesday it will hold a Feb. 23 hearing on Xavier Becerra’s nomination to run [the Department of Health and Human Services] HHS, more than two months after President Joe Biden tapped him for the job.

The Finance Committee, which will ultimately vote on whether to send Becerra’s nomination to the Senate floor, has yet to announce a hearing date, but is expected to do so later this week.

Becerra will be Biden’s first health nominee to receive a confirmation hearing. Some other key positions still lack a nominee, including [Food and Drug Administration] FDA commissioner and [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS administrator.

What to expect: Becerra, now California’s attorney general, served in the House of Representatives for almost 25 years, where he helped draft and pass the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are citing that work in addition to his more recent legal defense of the [Affordable Care Act] ACA to argue he’s qualified to steer HHS through a deadly pandemic.


Republicans to oppose Becerra: Republicans have already begun mobilizing for a longshot bid to block Becerra’s confirmation, and are planning to cast him as the face of California’s rocky pandemic response because of his work defending the governor’s stay-at-home orders and restrictions on businesses and houses of worship.

Republicans have also focused their criticisms on Becerra’s support of abortion rights and “Medicare for All,” while also hitting him for lacking medical or health care industry experience.”