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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 BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE’s nominee for health secretary ahead of his confirmation hearings before two committees this week.

The senators, led by Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (R-Ark.), urged Biden in a letter to withdraw the nomination of Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson delay prompts criticism of CDC panel | Pfizer CEO says third dose of COVID-19 vaccine 'likely' needed within one year | CDC finds less than 1 percent of fully vaccinated people got COVID-19 NIH to make announcement on fetal tissue research policy amid Trump-era restrictions Overnight Health Care: CDC director calls on Michigan to 'close things down' amid surge in cases | Regeneron says antibody therapy prevents COVID-19 infections 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 Blackburn2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border Bottom line MORE (R-Tenn.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz no longer wearing mask in Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks MORE (R-Texas), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Trump faces test of power with early endorsements OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies MORE (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many MORE (R-Okla.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBiden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Hillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee MORE (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsCongress looks to rein in Biden's war powers Columbine and the era of the mass shooter, two decades on GOP senator tweets statue of himself holding gun to Biden: 'Come and take it' MORE (R-S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerMcCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election Instagram sparks new concerns over 'kidfluencer' culture Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico 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 ManchinModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 'Just say no' just won't work for Senate Republicans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring 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 TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan MORE.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter' Democrats get good news from IRS IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting trillion 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 TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he 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.