VOICES--I could not be prouder to see my dear friend Xavier Becerra nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at one of the most pivotal moments in this nation’s history.
His experience running a large and complex agency, coupled with his relentless pursuit of quality, affordable health care for every person in America, make him uniquely qualified for the position.
Xavier's nomination is truly historic. A son of immigrants, he will be the first Latino ever to run HHS, which has the largest budget of any cabinet agency and a broad spectrum of responsibilities to ensure our nation's health and wellbeing. They include management of federal health programs, overseeing CDC and FDA, and caring for unaccompanied immigrant children.
President-elect Biden was wise to choose him for this role. As a Member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in Congress, Xavier helped craft the ACA and get it signed into law. As our state’s attorney general, he has defended the ACA from numerous attempts by Republicans to gut and repeal the law, which would jeopardize health care for tens of millions of Americans.
Xavier is a fighter for the most vulnerable and underserved among us. He has fought against discrimination and the structural racism that lead to a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, asthma, and diabetes in communities of color. He has taken on the drug companies responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic. He’s sued e-cigarette manufacturers for preying on young people and endangering their health. He’s been a champion for seniors by working to strengthen Medicare and he is a defender of women’s reproductive freedom.
We need Xavier's leadership at HHS now more than ever. I urge the Senate to confirm Xavier quickly because he has the fortitude and strength necessary to respond to this pandemic which has killed more than a quarter million Americans and infected 14 million more people in this country.
(Lucille Roybal-Allard is US Congresswoman for the 40th CD.)