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11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience'

Eleven Senate Republicans announced their opposition to President BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE’s nominee for health secretary ahead of his confirmation hearings before two committees this week.

The senators, led by Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks MORE (R-Ark.), urged Biden in a letter to withdraw the nomination of Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra GOP targets Manchin, Sinema, Kelly on Becerra MORE, California’s attorney general, arguing he is unqualified to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The senators wrote that Becerra has “no meaningful experience in health care, public health, large-scale logistics, or any other areas critical to meeting our present challenges.”

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The letter was also signed by Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal White House defends Biden's 'Neanderthal thinking' remark on masks Marsha Blackburn: Biden needs to 'rethink' comments about 'resilient' and 'resourceful' Neanderthals MORE (R-Tenn.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCrenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 MORE (R-Texas), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSusan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland MORE (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Senate coronavirus bill delayed until Thursday GOP targets Manchin, Sinema, Kelly on Becerra MORE (R-Okla.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Biden reignites war powers fight with Syria strike Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsIndigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Miss.).

Biden is highly unlikely to withdraw Becerra’s nomination, which will be considered this week by the Senate Finance and Health committees.

To be confirmed by the Senate, he would need at least 51 votes, which Democrats will have if every single member of the caucus votes for him and Vice President Harris breaks a tie.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (W.Va.), one of the most moderate Senate Democrats, is reportedly undecided on Becerra’s nomination, and he recently announced he will oppose Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Neera TandenNeera TandenOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels White House says Shalanda Young could serve as acting OMB director Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal MORE.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package Overnight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period MORE (D-Ore.) said Monday he has not heard any concerns from Democrats about Becerra’s nomination and said Republicans who oppose him are grasping at straws.

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“I think they’ve done their best to try to find something that could stick in terms of their opposition, but there’s really no there there,” Wyden said, referring to Republicans.

He pushed back on claims Becerra is inexperienced, noting that he has served on key congressional committees and defended consumer interests, especially during the pandemic, as California’s attorney general. 

Becerra was one of former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE’s most vocal critics, filing more than 100 lawsuits against the administration and challenging its regulations on health, reproductive rights, immigration, consumer rights and more.

He led several states in defending the Affordable Care Act in court after the Trump administration refused to do so. That case, filed by Republican attorneys general who are trying to overturn the health care law, is still pending before the Supreme Court.

Becerra was previously a member of Congress and served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care financing.

His nomination has been a target of Republicans within and outside Congress, with Heritage Action for America backing a $600,000 ad campaign against him. 

Republicans point to Becerra’s support for abortion rights and Medicare for All as proof he is too “radical” for the job.