Secretary of Health and Human Services – confirmation needed

Xavier Becerra

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 10, 2021 0 comments

President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Xavier Becerra to be the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

If confirmed, Becerra will be the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

The position: Advises on health policy. Oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, among other divisions.

Xavier Becerra was born in Sacramento, California, in 1958.

His father was born in the U.S. and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, and his mother was from Guadalajara.

As a child, Becerra grew up in a one-room apartment with his three sisters.

He graduated in 1976 from C.K. McClatchy High School, located in the center of Sacramento.

He studied abroad at the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain, from 1978 to 1979, before earning his B.A. in economics from Stanford University in 1980, becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college.

He received his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1984 and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1985.

Becerra began his career as a lawyer, working on cases involving individuals who had mental disorders for the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts.

He served in the House of Representatives for California from 1992 until 2017, when he was elected as the California Attorney General.

Becerra voted against H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would have imposed civil and criminal penalties on anyone knowingly attempting to perform a sex-selective abortion. The 2012 bill also would have required health care providers to report known or suspected violations to law enforcement, including suspicions about a woman’s motives for seeking an abortion.

Becerra received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2012.

Becerra voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Becerra voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 because he “wanted to see direct protections for responsible homeowners” in the bill.

In 2011, he was appointed to serve on a bicameral conference committee to find bipartisan solutions on middle-class tax cuts, unemployment insurance, and the Medicare physician payment rate.

Becerra had a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee and was the first Latino to serve on the committee.

In 2018, Becerra created an environmental justice branch of the California Department of Justice. Among other projects, it opposed the effort to expand San Bernardino International Airport due to concerns regarding air pollution.Becerra is married to physician Carolina Reyes.

Becerra also led a coalition of states in a legal defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court.

He is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank, based in Washington, D.C.

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