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Hispanic Caucus ramps up Cabinet pressure campaign

Hispanic Caucus ramps up Cabinet pressure campaign
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE has named a pair of Hispanic Americans to top posts in his Cabinet, but the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is turning up the pressure on the Biden-Harris transition team.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) leaders are expected to ask Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' Harris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' MORE during a conference call Thursday afternoon if the incoming administration will commit to naming a Latina to the Cabinet, a source familiar with the call told The Hill.

The call will come one day after the CHC sent Biden separate letters urging him to put a Latina in his Cabinet and name Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE as attorney general. The Congressional Black Caucus, meanwhile, wants Biden to nominate an African American as AG.

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However, the leading contender for the top Justice Department post is outgoing Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), a white lawmaker whose legal career has focused on civil rights.

The new pressure campaign comes amid lingering tensions between the Hispanic Caucus and the transition team. CHC leaders last week lashed out at top transition officials after the Biden team leaked that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamDC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After historic verdict, Chauvin led away in handcuffs Hispanic Caucus energized by first Biden meeting MORE (D), a former CHC chairwoman, had turned down the chance to be Biden’s Interior secretary. CHC leaders had been pushing her to be Biden’s Health and Human Services secretary, a role sought by the former New Mexico health official.

Biden’s team went in a different direction — one that still gave CHC something to celebrate. The president-elect tapped California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraNearly 940,000 sign up for ObamaCare coverage in special enrollment HHS, HUD team up to extend COVID-19 vaccine access in vulnerable communities We urgently need a COVID-level response to the US drug crisis MORE, a former House Democratic leader and prominent CHC member, as Health and Human Services secretary, a key role as the Biden administration responds to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, Biden nominated Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasSinema urges Biden to take 'bold' action at border: 'This is a crisis' Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' America's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do MORE, a Cuban refugee and architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as his Homeland Security secretary. 

“We want to commend you for the nominations of Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We are glad that this administration has taken initial steps toward having a diverse Cabinet. We are now eager to see the nomination of a Latina to a top-tier position in your Cabinet,” the Hispanic Caucus wrote to Biden in a letter obtained by The Hill.

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“As you continue to finalize your Cabinet, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) would like to reiterate the importance of having Latina/os serve in your Cabinet, at least one Latina/o serve in one of the top four positions, and for a Latina to serve in a top-tier position in the Cabinet,” the lawmakers added. “There are many qualified Latina women who are ready and able to serve their country.”

One of those women is Lily Eskelsen García, whom CHC and scores of Latino groups have endorsed to be Biden’s Education secretary. She is the former president of the National Education Association, one of the largest unions in the country.

Roughly half of the Cabinet seats have not been filled, including posts for Energy, Commerce, Labor and Transportation.