STATEMENT: Becerra Will Bring Needed Experience to HHS Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden transition team confirmed that the president-elect will appoint California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mara Rudman, executive vice president for Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the nomination:

In nominating California Attorney General Becerra as the next HHS secretary, President-elect Joe Biden is tasking him with overseeing many of the nation’s most urgent needs, including the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, restoring the public’s confidence in vital public health institutions, and boosting families’ health and financial security in the wake of the pandemic. Between a depleted career workforce, the intentional spread of misinformation, and a divided public, confronting these challenges will not be easy.

Having managed the nation’s largest state justice department and having been a longtime champion for expanding access to health care, Becerra brings the experience needed to do the job—experience that is sorely lacking as the nation contends with the greatest public health crisis in generations. He has also led the current legal fights to protect the Affordable Care Act and Title X, making him an excellent pick to reverse President Donald Trump’s health care sabotage.

If confirmed, he would make history as the first Latino to serve as HHS secretary—a particularly notable distinction given the racial disparities exacerbated by the coronavirus. The child of an immigrant mother, as secretary, Becerra would oversee the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement and play an important role in bringing America’s immigration policies in line with our values by reversing the Trump administration’s family separation policies.

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