Becerra Faces Tough Confirmation Hearing to Lead HHS

Becerra Faces Tough Confirmation Hearing to Lead HHS

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is expected to face a tough confirmation hearing Tuesday as Republicans are set to argue that President Biden’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary is overly liberal and lacks public-health experience.

Mr. Biden’s nominee enjoys support from Democrats to lead the sprawling, $1.2 trillion agency that sets national health policy and plays a chief role in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats have praised Mr. Becerra’s past work defending the Affordable Care Act and abortion access.

Mr. Becerra’s hearing Tuesday with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will be followed by a hearing Wednesday with the Senate Finance Committee, which must vote to advance the confirmation to the floor for a full Senate vote.

In the evenly divided Senate, Democrats can confirm Mr. Biden’s nominees without any Republican votes, so long as they don’t lose any votes among their own ranks. Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tiebreaking vote.

“We must ensure people have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Mr. Becerra said in prepared remarks released ahead of Tuesday’s hearing. “If confirmed, I will work with you to strengthen our Medicare and Medicaid lifelines, reduce the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and ensure we are accountable, spending resources wisely and effectively.”

Source: WSJ – US News

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