Breaking: Exclusive: Republicans Demand Biden Withdraw Becerra’s Nomination to Head HHS

In a letter to President Joe Biden this morning, Republicans in the House and Senate are demanding that he withdraw the nomination of California attorney general Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra's confirmation hearing in the Senate is scheduled for tomorrow.

"Mr. Becerra's lack of healthcare experience, enthusiasm for replacing private health insurance with government-run Medicare-for-all, and embrace of radical policies on immigration, abortion, and religious liberty, render him unfit for any position of public trust, and especially for HHS Secretary," the letter states.

The letter was spearheaded by Arkansas senator Tom Cotton and North Carolina representative Dan Bishop and signed by eleven Republican senators and more than 60 GOP representatives. In it, lawmakers argue that Becerra's lack of relevant health-care experience will be especially detrimental as the country works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. They write that his "lack of qualifications is particularly alarming given the important role the HHS Secretary will play in efforts to develop and distribute vaccines, coordinate research efforts, and draft critical regulations to carry out recovery legislation."

They note, too, that Becerra supports eliminating private health insurance and, by his own admission, has advocated single-payer health care his entire life. According to the letter, such a move "would devastate rural health care providers working to stay solvent during the pandemic and would be a slap in the face to the doctors, nurses and other health care workers keeping our communities healthy and safe."

Much of the document focuses on Becerra's history of supporting radically progressive social policy, including "his ardent support of abortion until the moment of birth." The lawmakers note that, in Congress, Becerra opposed a federal ban on partial-birth abortion and cosponsored legislation compelling religious employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs.

In addition to what's cited in the letter, Becerra has opposed legislation barring government officials from punishing health-care providers who refuse to participate in abortion, as well as legislation that would make it illegal to perform an abortion chosen on the basis of an unborn child's sex.

The letter points out several instances in which Becerra used his legal power to target conservative and religious citizens, including imposing unconstitutional pandemic policies that shut down houses of worship.

"He prosecuted pro-life activists who documented Planned Parenthood executives' conversations about selling the body parts of aborted babies," the letter continues. The lawmakers also note that Becerra "defended a California law that targeted pro-life crisis pregnancy centers while exempting clinics focused on birth control." That law was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment.

The negative effects of confirming Becerra likely would be even worse than the letter suggests. As head of HHS, he almost certainly would reinstate a version of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate compelling all employers, regardless of religious or conscience objections, to subsidize contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. He would also heed Biden's advice and permit abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding through the Title X family planning program.

The Republicans conclude by asking Biden to "put our country over radical partisan objectives by withdrawing Mr. Becerra's nomination for HHS Secretary," saying that his "appointment would sow further division at a time our country needs to heal and would endanger lives at a time our citizens need life-saving treatments, vaccinations, and the freedom to work and worship together."

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Exclusive: Republicans Demand Biden Withdraw Becerra's Nomination to Head HHS

The lawmakers argue that Becerra's extremism contradicts Biden's repeated calls for ... READ MORE


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