February 25, 2021
Becerra nomination hearing held in Senate Finance Committee
Yesterday (February 24) was the second nomination hearing for President Biden's pick for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Xavier Becerra, held in the Senate Finance Committee. Similar to yesterday's Senate HELP Committee hearing, Republicans on the committee raised concerns about Becerra's support for liberal policies such as Medicare for All, march-in rights, and pro-choice litigation, while also questioning his health care expertise. Ranking member of the committee, Mike Crapo (R-ID), said Becerra's advocacy for Medicare for All raises concerns "that your policy preferences could undermine the Medicare programs that rely on private insurance." Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), however, along with other Democrats, applauded his work to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) "from absurd and dangerous far-right attacks," adding that "there may not be a higher-stakes job … outside of the presidency itself" amid the coronavirus pandemic. Becerra faced tough questions from Republicans on abortion and religious rights but deflected by vowing to follow existing laws regardless of differing opinions. He committed to work with the committee on issues such as reducing prescription drug prices, increasing access to mental and maternal health care, addressing rural and underserved populations, and more. If Becerra gets no Republican support, he needs all 50 Senate Democrats to get confirmed, with Vice President Harris breaking a tie.
Additional details can be found in the attached Tax Alert.