California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra emerged relatively unscathed Tuesday from the first of two hearings this week on his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary, as Democrats brushed aside Republican assertions that his experience is insufficient for the post.
Conservative groups see Becerra as one of President Biden’s most vulnerable nominees and have joined many Senate Republicans in opposition, criticizing his support for abortion rights and “Medicare for all.”
But the emphasis Tuesday in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was on whether Biden should have picked a doctor to lead the agency while the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m a physician. What would you, as the attorney, think if I — the physician — were nominated to be the United States attorney general as opposed to Merrick Garland? You would say, ‘Ah, that guy’s not qualified,’” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said. “So you can imagine the kind of concerns I have regarding your nomination.”
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