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Biden Picks Xavier Becerra for Health Secretary

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected Xavier Becerra, the Democratic attorney general of California, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services, tapping a former congressman who would be the first Latino to run the department as it battles the surging coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Becerra became Mr. Biden’s clear choice only over the past few days, according to people familiar with the transition’s deliberations, and was a surprise. Mr. Becerra has carved out a profile more on the issues of criminal justice, immigration and tax policy, and he was long thought to be a candidate for attorney general.

But as attorney general in California, he has been at the forefront of legal efforts on health care, leading 20 states and the District of Columbia in a campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act from being dismantled by Republican attorneys general. He has also been a leading voice in the Democratic Party for women’s health.

The New York Times was first to report Becerra’s selection to the top health post, which requires Senate confirmation.

Becerra, 62, would take the helm at the massive agency in the midst of the most challenging public health crisis in a century. The coronavirus has killed more than 280,000 Americans, and nearly fifteen million people in the country have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has done all it can to undermine and whittle away the Affordable Care Act and repairing it through congressional action appears unlikely given narrow Democratic control of the House and the very real possibility that Republicans maintain control of the Senate pending the Georgia runoffs.

 

Exclusive HMG-CN exposé on Becerra taking large sums of money from Tribal Casinos and then attempting to pass laws severely hurting non-tribal cardrooms’ revenue in California.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Took Nearly $300,000 From Tribal Casinos, Now His Agency is Paying Them Back

 

INVESTIGATION: California AG Becerra Took Over $500,000 From Tribal Casinos, Now His Agency is Paying Them Back