Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of Senate Finance Committee, expressed his full support for California Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra, the first Latino American nominated to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Senator Carper hailed AG Becerra as a life-long public servant whose former experiences as both a member of the House of Representatives and as California’s Attorney General will be an asset to the Biden Administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Senator Carper also emphasized AG Becerra’s decades of experience working to expand access to quality, affordable health care.

“Throughout his career in public service, Xavier Becerra has shown an unwavering commitment to protecting and expanding health care availability for millions of American families and workers, especially those in vulnerable communities who remain underserved,” said Senator Carper. “In the House of Representatives, as a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, he helped make the Affordable Care Act – which expanded access to affordable health care to millions of Americans – a reality. And as Attorney General of California, he led the charge for a coalition of states to defend the ACA against multiple attempts by the Trump Administration to dismantle this landmark legislation altogether. ”

“With so much of the COVID-19 response being executed at the state and local levels, we are fortunate that President Biden has chosen as his HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, a leader, with relevant on-the-ground, state-based experience,” Senator Carper added. “In the midst of a deadly pandemic, one that has taken the lives of over 530,000 Americans – a toll that exceeds the number of American deaths on the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined – we cannot afford to let another day go by without confirming Xavier Becerra.”

Senator Carper’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below and can also be viewed HERE:

“M. President, today I rise in support of Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a lifelong public servant, and President Biden’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. I have long said – that the only way to really get our economy back on track, parents back to work,  kids back in the classroom, and life back to normal for the American people is by doing all we can to put this devastating pandemic in our nation’s rearview mirror.

“That means vaccinating as many Americans as safely and as quickly as possible. Thankfully, under President Biden’s leadership, America is leading the way in the production and distribution of vaccines. And each day, we are breaking records on the number of Americans being vaccinated.

“M. President, after going through one of the darkest periods in American history, we are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But as we ramp up vaccine distributions throughout America and help make sure that all peoples – from rural communities to urban cities – have equitable access to life-saving vaccines, we need to make sure that the Department of Health and Human Services has the right leader at the helm going forward. In my judgement, that leader is Xavier Becerra. I believe he is the right person for this job at this point in time.

“As a key member of the Biden Administration, he will work with the White House and Congress to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and coordinate our nation’s response to it. And, just as he has done throughout his career, he will fight to expand affordable health care, address persistent health disparities, and restore HHS’s mission to protect the health and well-being of all Americans.

“M. President, I have heard several of my Republican colleagues call into question Attorney General Becerra’s qualifications to serve as HHS Secretary. They are free to express their concerns. As Senators, it’s our duty to vet and evaluate Cabinet nominees and ensure that they will best serve the American people. I take that responsibility seriously. But, let me set the record straight on Xavier Becerra.

“I am confident that with his decades of experience working on health care issues in Congress and as California’s Attorney General, he will be an invaluable part of President Biden’s Administration as we work together to combat the pandemic nationally. Throughout his career in public service, Xavier Becerra has shown an unwavering commitment to protecting and expanding health care availability for millions of American families and workers, especially those in vulnerable communities who remain underserved.

“In the House of Representatives, as a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, he helped make the Affordable Care Act – which expanded access to affordable health care to millions of Americans – a reality. And as Attorney General of California, he led the charge for a coalition of states to defend the ACA against multiple attempts by the Trump Administration to dismantle this landmark legislation altogether.  As the head of the second-largest Department of Justice in the country, second only to our federal DOJ, Xavier Becerra brought together attorneys general from both sides of the aisle to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the addiction crisis.

“And when the pandemic hit, he went to bat for Californians on everything from protections for workers from exposure to COVID-19, increasing transparency in nursing homes, to securing key safeguards for the rights of frontline health care personnel. His past leadership is why President Biden is tasking him today with overseeing the response to many of our nation’s most urgent needs, including the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, restoring the public’s confidence in vital public health institutions, and boosting families’ health and financial security in the wake of the pandemic.

“M. President, with so much of the COVID-19 response being executed at the state and local levels, we are fortunate that President Biden has chosen as his HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, a leader, with relevant on-the-ground, state-based experience.  As the head of the largest state Department of Justice in the nation – overseeing more than 4,500 employees – Attorney General Becerra has a proven track record and the management experience necessary to take on the massive operation at HHS. He will also make history as the first Latino American to take on this role, providing an important perspective as Latinos and other minority communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“M. President, four years ago, this body confirmed President Trump’s HHS Secretary within just twenty days of the start of his Administration. We knew then that this role was important to fill. And now, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, one that has taken the lives of over 530,000 Americans – a toll that exceeds the number of American deaths on the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined – we cannot afford to let another day go by without confirming Xavier Becerra. 

“I urge my colleagues today to join me in voting to confirm Xavier Becerra to lead HHS so that this critical member of President Biden’s Administration can go to work and help us put this pandemic behind us for the good of all Americans.”

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