Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) on Thursday expressed deep concern over Xavier Becerra, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, suggesting Becerra could do much more damage to the country than Neera Tanden, the president’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Ron Klain and Chuck Schumer know that Xavier Becerra is a wolf who can’t be dressed in sheep’s clothing, so they’re using Neera Tanden as a decoy,” Sasse said in a statement to National Review. “While the beltway talks endlessly about which senators got mean tweets from a lefty activist, a wannabe tyrant with a nasty record of attacking the First Amendment is going to quietly become the leader of the federal government’s largest agency. Becerra has shown nothing but contempt for free speech and religious liberty — he’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than Tanden.”
Becerra, who currently serves as California’s attorney general, would not answer questions on his abortion stance during his Wednesday Senate confirmation hearing and could not outline even a single abortion restriction he would be in favor of.
As Breitbart News reported:
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) asked Becerra, President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), whether he supported any restriction whatsoever on abortions, including those intended to end the life of babies with a prenatal disability diagnosis of Down syndrome or partial-birth abortions.
“Senator, let me try to respond this way,” Becerra said. “I have tried to make sure on this important issue for so many people, where oftentimes again we have different views, but deeply held views, that I have tried to make sure that I am abiding by the law,” he continued to say. “Because whether it’s a particular restriction, or whether it’s the whole idea of abortion, whether we agree or not, we have to come to some conclusion, and that’s where the law gives– “
“But, to be clear,” Daines interrupted. “Is there any line you would draw? Is there just one – just one restriction that relates to abortion that you might support?”
Becerra still would not respond to Daines’ question.
Even before Becerra’s hearing, eleven Senate Republicans wrote to Biden calling on him to withdraw the nomination, saying the official’s support for Medicare for All and abortion, make him ill-suited for the position.
Co-signers of the letter include: Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
“We write to express our grave concerns regarding the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS),” the Republican senators wrote. “Mr. Becerra’s lack of healthcare experience, enthusiasm for replacing private health insurance with government-run Medicare-for-all, and embrace of radical policies on immigration, abortion, and religious liberty, render him unfit for any position of public trust, and especially for HHS Secretary.”
Additionally, conservatives organizations joined forces to oppose Becerra’s confirmation, branding him an “extremist” due to his view on abortion.
The Conservative Action Project and the Conservative Partnership Institute wrote in an open letter: “No federal agency has more influence over policies relating to the sanctity of life, human dignity, and religious liberty than HHS. Becerra has a troubling record on all of these fronts. He is an extremist nominee who will carry the agendas of liberal dark money groups to his administration post if confirmed.”
The letter added: “As a former Member of Congress, Becerra voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, against making it a crime to hurt an unborn child during the perpetration of another crime, and against efforts to bar minors from being driven across state lines for an abortion without parental consent. He has consistently voted in favor of taxpayer-funded abortions.”
Despite growing opposition from Republicans, the Biden White House has not expressed any intention to pull Becerra’s nomination.