WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Americans Need Xavier Becerra’s Strong Leadership at HHS

In the middle of this dark COVID winter, when the United States has seen more than 450,000 deaths, the American people need Xavier Becerra’s strong leadership as HHS secretary. Not only would Becerra be a historic first, becoming the first Latino to lead the agency, but he has years of experience as a member of Congress who helped oversee Medicare and other public health programs. Every day that Senate Republicans delay Becerra’s confirmation, they put Americans at greater risk. These Republicans must do their job and put the safety of the American people first by quickly moving to confirm Becerra. 

Doctors and public health leaders on the front lines of the pandemic agree: we need Becerra’s strong leadership to jumpstart the fight against the coronavirus.

Dr. Manrique Iriarte, primary care doctor in Miami, FL: “The pandemic demands a strong and knowledgeable HHS secretary who can marshal the people and resources to not only contain the spread of the virus but ensure a smooth and equitable vaccination distribution program that doesn’t leave communities behind. Becerra is the right person at the right time, and he deserves the support of every Senator to move his confirmation forward.”

Dr. Joanna Bisgrove and Dr. Jeff Huebner, family physicians in WI: “There is far too much at stake, and no time to waste. The Senate should work quickly to confirm Xavier Becerra as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services as a good faith first step in working with the Biden administration to get the pandemic under control and improve the health of Americans across the country.”

Doni Miller, CEO of Neighborhood Health Association: “Xavier Becerra is the right person at the right time, and he deserves the support of Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate. To delay his appointment is to prolong our suffering and put millions of Americans’ lives in jeopardy.”

Public officials on both sides of the aisle argue that Becerra’s years of experience helping oversee public health programs and defending access to health care makes him the right choice to lead HHS during this unprecedented crisis.

JoCasta Zamarripa, Milwaukee alderwoman and first Latina elected to the WI legislature: “Becerra’s nomination demonstrates the seriousness with which President Biden has been working to develop a comprehensive plan to get the virus under control, so that we can rebuild our economy quickly. As a former member of Congress who led the fight to expand health care and who has been fiercely defending in court every American’s ability to access that care, Becerra is uniquely qualified to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary.”

David Miner, former NC state representative: “In his 24 years in Congress, Becerra worked across the aisle to get things done, prioritizing the health and safety of his community over partisan differences. As HHS Secretary, Becerra will ‘hit the reset’ experts are calling for to revitalize our country’s vaccine rollout. Until then, millions will remain unprotected against the virus, and unable to safely return to work.”

John O’Grady, Franklin County, OH commissioner: “It’s past time to put forth serious effort to curb the pandemic with a Secretary of HHS who will fight back and defend life-saving policies for Americans. A co-sponsor of the Affordable Care Act, Becerra has a strong record of defending against attempts to repeal the law. ”

Former Health and Human Services secretaries have said that Senate Republicans’ attempts to delay Becerra’s confirmation hurts the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

Former HHS Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Donna Shalala in USA Today“Without the secretary, we will face a backlog that will slow our national response to this crisis, upend progress already being made, and prevent action when it is needed most. The Senate should move on this nomination as soon as possible and put in place this qualified nominee who can help keep us safe and healthy, end this crisis, and get us back to our lives.”