WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), along with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and other members of Congress, today sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to withdraw California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s nomination to serve as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In part, the members wrote, “We write to express our grave concerns regarding the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). 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.”
In the past, Mr. Becerra has stated that he is a lifelong advocate for single-payer, government-run healthcare, advocated for decriminalization of illegal immigration, opposed a legislative ban on partial-birth abortion, sued to require that the Little Sisters of the Poor provide contraceptives despite their religious objections, and advanced unconstitutional orders shutting down houses of worship during COVID-19 despite that many other businesses and entities remained open.
Other Senate co-signers of the letter include: Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The letter may be found here, and its full text is included below.
Dear President Biden,
We write to express our grave concerns regarding the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). 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.
At your inauguration, you spoke about uniting the country and the need to address the pandemic. As these are your stated priorities, we request that you withdraw Mr. Becerra’s nomination and offer the American people a nominee equipped to successfully combat the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopen our country.
Our nation cannot afford to lose valuable time in this battle by installing an HHS Secretary who is not up to the challenges we face. But that is exactly what you propose to do by nominating Mr. Becerra, a man with no meaningful experience in healthcare, public health, large-scale logistics, or any other areas critical to meeting our present challenges.
Mr. Becerra’s 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.
Compounding our concerns over Mr. Becerra’s lack of experience is his ardent support of radical policies that will inflict great harm on millions of Americans. At a time when Americans can least afford it, Mr. Becerra enthusiastically supports eliminating the private health insurance market for 160 million Americans, only to replace it with a government takeover branded as Medicare-for-all. The resulting reimbursement cuts 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.
This radical position is not a recent or passing fancy. As Mr. Becerra proudly told California Healthline in 2019, “I’ve been a single-payer advocate all my life.” As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our nation, Mr. Becerra’s determination to strip Americans of their private health insurance isn’t just bad policy, it’s dangerous.
Meanwhile, Mr. Becerra seeks to decriminalize illegal immigration, which would extend expensive government benefits like Medicaid to anyone who illegally crosses our borders.
Mr. Becerra’s radical views extend to his ardent support of abortion until the moment of birth. He opposed the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban and cosponsored legislation that would force religious employers like Hobby Lobby to cover the morning-after pill, even in the face of sincerely held religious objections.
Indeed, Mr. Becerra has long shown contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with his radical leftist agenda. As California’s Attorney General, Mr. Becerra targeted social conservatives and religious groups with legal challenges and prosecution. He unconstitutionally forced houses of worship into lockdown while Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended dinner parties at the French Laundry. He prosecuted pro-life activists who documented Planned Parenthood executives’ conversations about selling the body parts of aborted babies. Finally, he defended a California law that targeted pro-life crisis pregnancy centers while exempting clinics focused on birth control.
Mr. Becerra’s extremism and contempt for those who take a different view contradict your calls for unity. 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.
We ask that you put our country over radical partisan objectives by withdrawing Mr. Becerra’s nomination for HHS Secretary.
Thank you for your immediate consideration of our request.