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

Eleven Senate Republicans announced their opposition to President BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE’s nominee for health secretary ahead of his confirmation hearings before two committees this week.

The senators, led by Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai Biden says he's 'considering' a diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics MORE (R-Ark.), urged Biden in a letter to withdraw the nomination of Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraButtigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Boosters for all The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay 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 BlackburnChina draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai Sunday shows preview: Boosters open to all US adults; House Dems pass spending plan on to Senate Photos of the Week: President Biden, Kenosha protests and a pardon for Peanut Butter MORE (R-Tenn.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE (R-Texas), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesBill honoring 13 service members killed in Afghanistan heads to Biden's desk The Memo: Much-criticized Trump policy puts Biden in a vise The good, bad, and ugly of Tester's Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act MORE (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordConstant threats to government funding fail the American public GOP Senate candidate says Fauci is 'mass murderer,' should be jailed rather than 'hero' Rittenhouse Bill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate MORE (R-Okla.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRepublicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall The congressional debate over antitrust: It's about time McConnell looks for way out of debt ceiling box MORE (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsOvernight Defense & National Security — A new plan to treat Marines 'like human beings' Republicans press Milley over perceived progressive military agenda Jean Rounds, wife of South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, dies from cancer MORE (R-S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Senators: US allies concerned Senate won't pass annual defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — A new plan to treat Marines 'like human beings' 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 ManchinBiden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one 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 TandenGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions On The Money — Biden's big plans for the Fed Biden taps Shalanda Young to lead White House budget office MORE.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenLobbyists turn to infrastructure law's implementation Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill 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 TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips 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.