President Joe Biden continues to flesh out his administration with Senate confirmation hearings for various top-level Cabinet nominees.
In the latest development, former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was confirmed this week by a narrow 50–49 vote as the Biden administration’s new secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“Becerra isn’t right for the job”
With the largely party-line vote, Becerra received support from just one Republican senator in the evenly divided chamber, with many in the GOP citing a concerning track record thus far in his public service career.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) was among the majority of Republicans who voted against his nomination, saying: “Becerra isn’t right for the job because in the middle of a global pandemic the Department of Health and Human services needs to be focused on health and human services.”
Furthermore, Sasse referred to a lawsuit in which Becerra argued that a Catholic order should be subjected to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, calling the nominee “a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckles politics by bullying nuns.”
The Nebraska Republican was just one of several members of his party who spoke out against Becerra’s confirmation. For Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the nominee was “one of the worst” put forward thus far by Biden.
“Our nation’s top health official should have some qualifications other than being a woke culture warrior who targets nuns and religious hospitals with the power of the state,” he declared.
“Issues where I strongly disagree”
Reiterating his opposition, Rubio added that Beccera’s nomination was not one meant “to make the country healthier and safer” but was instead an effort “to weaponize a massive bureaucracy to carry out the radical left’s woke agenda.”
Even Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the lone Republican to cast a vote in favor of his confirmation, expressed reservations about his nomination, adding: “Although there are issues where I strongly disagree with Mr. Becerra, I believe he merits confirmation as HHS secretary.”
At least one Senate Democrat also voiced concerns before ultimately voting to confirm the Cabinet member.
“While Attorney General Xavier Becerra and I have very different records on issues like abortion and the Second Amendment, he has affirmed to me his dedication to working with members on both sides of the aisle to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the numerous needs of our nation in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reportedly concluded.
Becerra has also gained sharp criticism for his decision to prosecute David Daleiden, a pro-life advocate behind the release of undercover footage purporting to expose the illegal sale by Planned Parenthood of body parts from aborted fetuses.