February 23, 2021 4:28 PM | With information from EFE
15 minutes. Xavier Becerra, the Latino nominee of US President Joe Biden, to lead the US Department of Health and Human Services, faces strong Republican opposition as of Tuesday in the Senate confirmation hearings.
This resistance from the conservative side is due to the fact that they consider that Becerra, until now California’s attorney general, has a too liberal profile. Also, he has no experience in the field of healthcare.
“Becerra has no real experience in public health care. What little he has, during the pandemic, has led to disastrous lockdowns in California, crushing small businesses and making the health crisis worse,” said Republican Senator Tom Cotton. during the session.
Cotton’s rejection of Becerra’s nomination is such that he sent a letter to Biden along with ten other senators on Tuesday asking him to withdraw his name as the candidate to be the next US Secretary of Health.
In her testimony, Becerra alleged that throughout her career she worked on bipartisan initiatives with Republicans and Democrats, especially over the past year to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m ready for it”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people. We need strong leadership and I understand the enormous challenges we face. I am ready for it,” said Becerra in his statements before the Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions of the Upper House.
In addition, Republican Senator Susan Collins, one of the most moderate, also questioned Becerra on the importance of returning to school for students.
“The main concern is the safety of families, both children and parents and grandparents at home. Nobody wants their children to be infected. Let science guide us,” warned Becerra.
In that sense, he asked Biden to nominate another person for the Health portfolio.
Becerra has more than 20 years of legislative experience, he became the highest ranking Hispanic in Congress. It also helped drive the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.
This will be precisely one of the issues that will create the most division among legislators, since a good part of the Republican senators has been totally opposed to Obamacare in the past.
Kamala Harris could have the final vote
If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra would be the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Before his candidacy is voted in the plenary session of the Upper House, the Hispanic politician testified this Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions. He will do the same this Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee.
In the Senate, where progressives have 50 seats and conservatives another 50, Democrats will be able to confirm Becerra without any Republican support, as long as they do not lose any votes among their own ranks, since the country’s vice president, Kamala Harris, in As president of the Upper House, she can issue a tiebreaker.
Becerra’s confirmation hearings come when USA exceeds 28 million infected and 500,500 dead from the epidemic. This according to the independent count from Johns Hopkins University.