HHS Pick Says Pandemic Is Top job, but agenda is broader

Xavier Becerra listens during a confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Health and Human Services before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)
(AP) — Health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra is telling senators that the coronavirus pandemic will be his first priority if confirmed, but he’s also pledging to expand health insurance, rein in prescription drug costs and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in medical care. Becerra is facing opposition from many Republicans, who question his support for abortion rights and government-run health insurance, along with his lack of clinical experience. Now serving as California’s attorney general, Becerra represented parts of Los Angeles in the U.S. House for more than 20 years. He would be the first Latino to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Questioned Tuesday by the health committee, Becerra returns Wednesday to face the Finance committee.

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