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Biden's pick to lead Health and Human Services goes before Senate committees

February 23, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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Xavier Becerra, California's attorney general, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. U.S. Supreme Court justices seemed inclined to let President??Donald Trump??cancel an Obama-era program that shields almost 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation in a case with broad political and humanitarian ramifications. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden's choice for the nation's top health official will go before Senate committees on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Republicans attempt to torpedo the nomination.

Xavier Becerra, who is California's first Latino attorney general, was tapped by Biden to be his Health and Human Services secretary in early December.

Becerra, who would be the first Latino HHS secretary if confirmed, is expected to defend his health care experience in his current job and in his longtime tenure in the House of Representatives.

Becerra is set to testify before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, with only the latter voting on his nomination.

In his prepared opening statement first obtained by CNN, Becerra plans to address how he, as attorney general, responded to the pandemic in his own state.

Becerra will say that HHS has a "central role" in meeting the ambitious goals Biden set to battle the pandemic and doing so in a bipartisan fashion.

Becerra also will stress his upbringing as a son of a Mexican immigrant, his father's recent passing and his history expanding health care access.

In addition, Becerra has been outspoken on the fight for women's health, the rights of undocumented immigrants and his support for Medicare for All, making him a target for attacks from Republicans and potentially more conservative Democrats.

Republicans have been targeting Becerra since his selection was announced.

"Xavier Becerra is a radical liberal with no real public health experience besides enforcing California's disastrous lockdowns," according to a statement released by Cotton's office.

"If confirmed, Xavier Becerra will put the health insurance we get at our jobs at risk.

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