Xavier Becerra Has ‘No Public Health Experience’ But Plenty Of Radical Views

In California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, President Biden Has Selected Someone With ‘No Particular Experience Or Expertise In Health’ But A Long Record Of Pro-Abortion Extremism And Support For Radical Policies Like ‘Medicare For All’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Xavier Becerra [is] President Biden’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Amid a global pandemic, the President has made a puzzling selection for this critical post: The famously partisan Attorney General of California. Mr. Becerra has no particular experience or expertise in health. His chief passion project in California seemed to be using the force of government to attack Americans’ religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In 2017, the department he’s nominated to lead finally provided a religious exemption to a controversial Obamacare mandate. Mr. Becerra led the lawsuit to challenge it. He used his taxpayer-funded office to sue Catholic nuns who didn’t want government forcing them to violate their beliefs. This is a pattern with Mr. Becerra. When a California law forcing pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion was challenged in court, Mr. Becerra defended it to the bitter end. His absurd position in favor of government-compelled speech was slapped down by the Supreme Court. Over the last two years, the HHS Office of Civil Rights literally had to hold California and Mr. Becerra in violation of conscience protections that are written into federal law. His zealous refusal to respect his citizens’ legal rights positioned his state to potentially forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in HHS funding. That’s how committed they were to these violations. And now the fox wants to guard the henhouse? … I am hard-pressed to see any way such a radical and underqualified nominee should fill such a critical post at this crucial time.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/23/2021)


Becerra Has ‘No Public Health Experience,’ Leaving Some Medical Experts ‘Caught Off Guard’ And ‘Astounded’ By The Nomination

“Xavier Becerra, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, is set to be a pandemic-era secretary with no public health experience. … Becerra built his career in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming California’s attorney general, and some wonder whether his political and legal skills would be the right fit to steer HHS through a health catastrophe that’s killing thousands of Americans every day. Although he would bring years of health politics and policy work to the role, none of it comes from front-line experience as an executive or administrator running public health programs, managing patient care or controlling the spread of disease.” (“In Becerra, An HHS Nominee With Political Skill But No Front-Line Health Experience,” Kaiser Health News, 12/08/2020)

  • “Yet while allies touted his ability to organize dozens of blue states in opposition to the Trump administration, Becerra has little experience managing a bureaucracy as large and diverse as HHS. He also has little background in public health, a drawback that could raise questions about his readiness to direct a pandemic response and vaccine distribution campaign that rank among the most complex federal undertakings in U.S. history.” (“Biden selects Becerra to lead Health and Human Services,” Politico, 12/06/2020)

“Some medical experts, who have been pushing the Biden team to name people with medical or public health expertise to serve in health leadership positions, were caught off guard — and unhappily so — by the news of Mr. Becerra’s selection. In a letter sent last week to Mr. Biden, five leading medical groups — the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians among them — called on the president-elect to appoint ‘qualified physicians to serve in key positions critical to advancing the health of our nation.’ One person familiar with that effort said people involved were ‘astounded’ by the selection of Mr. Becerra, and suggested that Mr. Biden elevate Dr. Murthy to a cabinet-level position.” (“Biden Picks Xavier Becerra to Lead Health and Human Services,” The New York Times, 12/06/2020)


Becerra’s Chief Health Care Expertise Appears To Be Using Government To Coerce Nuns And Other Charitable Organizations To Violate Their Consciences For A Radical Abortion Agenda

As California’s Attorney General, Becerra Sued The Federal Government To Take Away The Religious Exemption Granted To The Little Sisters And Other Organizations That Didn’t Want To Be Forced To Pay For Coverage That Violated Their Religious Beliefs

BECKET FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: “In October 2017, Health & Human Services issued a new rule with an updated, broad religious exemption that finally protected religious non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor. In its new rule, the government admitted that it broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide services like the week-after-pill in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs. But the Little Sisters are still in court. Following the new mandate announcement, the state of California sued the federal government to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption. California admits that it has many of its own programs to provide contraceptives to women who want them. California never filed suit over the much larger secular exemptions created by the Obama Administration for big corporations—exemptions that applied to tens of millions more people than the religious exemption. California’s own mandate does not even apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor. And California has not identified a single actual person who had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of this new rule. Despite all this, California asked a judge to find that the Little Sisters should be forced to comply with the federal mandate (not a state mandate) or pay tens of millions of dollars of government fines…. On July 8, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Little Sisters in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania protecting the Little Sisters for the third time, and sent California v. Little Sisters of the Poor back to the Ninth Circuit to be decided in light of the Court’s decision.” (“California v. Little Sisters of the Poor,” Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Website, Accessed 1/28/2021)

Becerra Also Defended A California Law Forcing Crisis Pregnancy Centers To Advertise Abortion Services All The Way To The Supreme Court And Lost

“Under Becerra, California lost a case involving the speech rights of crisis pregnancy centers. In 2018 the Supreme Court struck down a requirement for these centers, which are run by antiabortion advocates, to tell their patients about the availability of state-offered services, including abortion. Becerra had argued the requirement was well within the bounds of what a state can require health providers to share …. But the court ruled the law probably violated the First Amendment.” (“The Health 202: Xavier Becerra Has Been Defending The ACA In Court. Now He Could Manage It.,” The Washington Post, 12/07/2020)

  • “Justice Anthony Kennedy joined Thomas’ opinion for the majority, but he also filed a concurring opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch (all of whom also joined the Thomas opinion). Kennedy warned that the FACT Act ‘is a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.’ And Kennedy strongly rebuked what he described as the California legislature’s ‘congratulatory statement’ that the FACT Act ‘was part of California’s legacy of ‘forward thinking.’’ It ‘is not forward thinking to force individuals to be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view they find unacceptable.’ Rather, Kennedy stressed, it ‘is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for generations to come.’” (Amy Howe, “Opinion Analysis: Divided Court Rules For Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers In Challenge To California Law,” SCOTUSBlog, 6/28/2018)
  • FORMER JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY: “[T]he State [of California] requires primarily pro-life pregnancy centers to promote the State’s own preferred message advertising abortions. This compels individuals to contradict their most deeply held beliefs, beliefs grounded in basic philosophical, ethical, or religious precepts, or all of these. And the history of the Act’s passage and its underinclusive application suggest a real possibility that these individuals were targeted because of their beliefs…. Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions.” (NIFLA v. Becerra, 585 U.S. __ (2018), 6/26/2018)


Becerra’s Abortion Extremism Extended To Opposing A Ban On Partial-Birth Abortions And Refusing To Codify The Hyde Amendment, Which Prevents Taxpayers From Funding Abortion Services

In 2003, then-Rep. Becerra (D-CA) voted against S. 3, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. (S.3, Roll Call Vote #530: Adopted (thus sent to the Senate) 281-142: D 63-137; R 218-4; I 0-1, 10/02/2003, Becerra voted Nay)

In 2011, Becerra voted against H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. (H.R.3, Roll Call Vote #292: Passed 251-175: R 235-0; D 16-175, 5/04/2011, Becerra voted No)

  • REP. RICHARD NUGENT (R-FL): “H.R. 3 simply codifies and makes permanent the policies that currently rely upon regular, re-approval of Congress. Among the riders made permanent to H.R. 3 are: the Hyde amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage through any program funded through the annual Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act; the Helms amendment, which prohibits funding for abortion as a method of family planning overseas; the Smith Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage for Federal employees; the Dornan amendment, which prohibits the use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia; the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause, which ensures that recipients of Federal funding do not discriminate against doctors, nurses, and hospitals because they do not provide, pay for, cover, or refer for abortions.” (Rep. Nugent, Congressional Record, H.3015, 5/04/2011)


Despite His Lack Of Health Care Experience, Becerra Boasts That He Supported Radical Government-Run ‘Medicare For All’ Legislation ‘For The 24 Years That [He] Was In Congress’

FOX NEWS’ DANA PERINO: “[G]oing forward, would you personally support something like Senator Bernie Sanders has suggested, which would be a Medicare for All plan?”
CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL XAVIER BECERRA:Oh, absolutely. I’ve been a supporter of Medicare for All for the 24 years that I was in Congress. This year, as attorney general, I would fight for that if we had an opportunity to put that forward in the state of California, because I think what we do is we give people that certainty that they’re going to able to access a doctor or a hospital. The worst thing we used to have was situations were young families wouldn’t know if they should take their children to the hospital because it can lead to personal bankruptcy. That ended with the Affordable Care Act. We can’t go back to those days. And so, absolutely, when you give people access to Medicare and talk to seniors who have their Medicare who say keep your hands off my Medicare, I think it would have the same effect for most Americans if they knew they could depend on something like Medicare for themselves as well.” (Fox News Sunday, 10/22/2017)

While he was in Congress, Becerra cosponsored single-payer Medicare for All bills at least 6 times from 1993 to 2011. (“AMERICAN HEALTH SECURITY ACT (H.R. 1200, S.491, S.915, S.1782),” Healthcare-NOW Website, Accessed 2/23/2021; “EXPANDED AND IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL ACT (H.R. 676),” Healthcare-NOW Website, Accessed 2/23/2021; H.R. 1200, 103rd Congress; H.R. 1200, 104th Congress; H.R. 676, 109th Congress; H.R. 676, 110th Congress; H.R. 676, 111th Congress; H.R. 676, 112th Congress)



Related Issues: Supreme Court, Health Care, Defending Life, Nominations