Nearly a dozen Senate Republicans are pushing forward with an effort to block the confirmation of California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra as President Biden’s secretary of Health and Human Services.
In a letter to the 46th commander-in-chief dated Monday, the group of senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), urged the president to pick a different nominee, arguing that Becerra has “no meaningful experience in health care, public health, large-scale logistics, or any other areas critical to meeting our present challenges.”
“At your inauguration, you spoke about uniting the country and the need to address the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote, “As these are your stated priorities, we request that you withdraw Mr. Becerra’s nomination and offer the American people a nominee equipped to successfully combat the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopen our country.”
“Mr. Becerra’s lack of qualifications is particularly alarming given the important role the HHS Secretary will play in efforts to develop and distribute vaccines, coordinate research efforts, and draft critical regulations to carry out recovery legislation,” the letter continued.
The lawmakers went on to voice their concern about Becerra’s “ardent support of radical policies,” a reference to his backing of Medicare-for-all and concern he would push progressive policies at HHS.
“As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our nation, Mr. Becerra’s determination to strip Americans of their private health insurance isn’t just bad policy, it’s dangerous,” the letter continues.
The letter went on to raise concerns about Becerra’s stances on issues ranging from illegal immigration to abortion.
Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn.), Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tn.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Ok.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Jim Risch (R-Id.), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-Ms.), along with 64 House Republicans, also signed onto the letter.
The effort to amass signatures in the House was led by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC).
In his capacity as attorney general, Becerra certainly went to bat against the Trump administration, signing the Golden State onto dozens of lawsuits against the federal government to challenge rollbacks to the Affordable Care Act and environmental policies.
Through Becerra, the state has also challenged the Trump administration in court on its immigration policies.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment regarding the letter.
Becerra needs all 50 Democrats to support his nomination. If he cannot get the support of the entire caucus, he will need at least one Republican to come over to his side.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the most influential senators as a moderate in a tightly divided body, has declined to say whether he will back Becerra’s nomination.