Braun: Biden should reconsider divisive HHS nominee Xavier Becerra

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During his inaugural address, President Joe Biden used the word unity nine times to emphasize his administration’s initiative to bridge the divide in the country. If Americans are to take him at his word, then it’s time for him to replace California Democrat Xavier Becerra as his pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a mainstream nominee who has experience in the health care industry and is equipped with the expertise to enact critical industry reform and lead us to the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Through his position as attorney general of California, Becerra was the ringleader of the far-left’s resistance movement and personally led a lawsuit to harass the Little Sisters of the Poor — a group of nuns who run elderly care facilities — with a lawsuit to force them to pay for abortion pills in contradiction to their Catholic faith, which undercuts Biden’s hollow call for unity.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Becerra said he supported the radical socialized medicine plan Medicare for All. In fact, Becerra’s exact words were, “I’ve been a supporter of Medicare for All for the 24 years that I was in Congress. This year, as attorney general, I would fight for that if we had an opportunity to put that forward in the state of California.” This is troubling for those of us who know that a socialist overhaul of our health care system would bankrupt our country and ruin quality of care for Americans.

As a one of the few Republicans willing to reform the health care industry through price transparency and holding Big Pharma accountable for monopolistic drug pricing, I believe President Biden would be wise to select an HHS secretary who has experience in health care rather than in the halls of Congress like Xavier Becerra.

For example, our last HHS secretary spent over a decade at Eli Lilly and used his experience in the health care industry to reform the broken system through executive actions on price transparency and other measures to bring drug costs down.

As we approach the finish line of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to understand why Becerra is the right person for the job considering he defended Gov. Gavin Newsom’s blanket shutdowns that devastated California small businesses while still leading to the worst COVID-19 surge in the country.

Instead, it’s my hope that President Biden rescinds Becerra’s nomination and taps a nominee who comes with experience dealing with health care crises. Ideally, someone with experience and a record of success working on the coronavirus pandemic, Ebola pandemic, or Zika outbreak.

HHS has a budget of $1.2 trillion with nearly 80,000 employees, and it’s clear that Xavier Becerra lacks the qualifications to run a federal agency of this magnitude in the midst of a pandemic. President Biden should reconsider his nomination and choose a more qualified candidate.

Sen. Mike Braun serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Tags divisive nominee Gavin Newsom HHS Joe Biden Mike Braun Xavier Becerra

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