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

Eleven Senate Republicans announced their opposition to President BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE’s nominee for health secretary ahead of his confirmation hearings before two committees this week.

The senators, led by Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Media continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails MORE (R-Ark.), urged Biden in a letter to withdraw the nomination of Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraNew Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing Obama joins Biden to tout record ObamaCare enrollment numbers Biden walks fine line with probe into coronavirus origins 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.”


The letter was also signed by Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnFauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Pentagon report clears use of drones made by top Chinese manufacturer Military families should not have to endure food insecurity MORE (R-Tenn.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot MORE (R-Texas), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesCompany officially nixes Keystone XL pipeline OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Republicans grill Biden public lands agency pick over finances, advocacy MORE (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordPolice reform negotiations enter crucial stretch GOP turns against Jan. 6 probe as midterm distraction The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden wants Congress to pass abortion bill, pushes for Mideast cease-fire MORE (R-Okla.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are 'insufficient' Senate chaos: Johnson delays exit as votes pushed to Friday MORE (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsTrump, midterms fuel GOP's effort to quash Jan. 6 commission Senate GOP blocks legislation on Jan. 6 commission Senate votes to advance China bill after Schumer strikes deal MORE (R-S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US Bipartisan bill proposes to add billion in restaurant relief funds 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 ManchinJoe ManchinMaher goes after Manchin: 'Most powerful Republican in the Senate' It's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema 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 TandenBiden's no-drama White House chief Manchin isn't ready to support Democrats passing infrastructure on their own Republicans target Trump critic's role at DOJ MORE.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenNew Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Senate panel advances nominations for key Treasury positions 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.


“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 TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' 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.