The Senate is considering the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Without question, the Senate should reject this nomination.
In the midst of this pandemic, America deserves a health secretary who is solely focused on getting shots in arms, getting kids back to school, and getting parents back to work. But that’s not Mr. Becerra. Over his long career in politics, his primary passion has been ramming through a radical, far-left agenda and using the power of his office to persecute his political enemies.
Mr. Becerra would be in charge of administering the nation’s health programs—but he has virtually no experience or expertise in healthcare. His only experience responding to the pandemic, as far as I can tell, has been his enforcement of California’s excessive and traumatizing lockdowns over the last year.
Mr. Becerra has been California’s top cop overseeing the most draconian and unconstitutional series of lockdowns anywhere in our country. He has shuttered churches while liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries remain open. He has destroyed small, family-owned businesses while enriching massive corporations. In the false name of “public health,” he has rigorously enforced unscientific and unproductive measures that have ruined the lives of Californians. Today, California’s unemployment rate stands at 9 percent, 45 percent higher than the national average and nearly two times higher than our unemployment rate in Arkansas. That’s the result of bad policy—and jobless Californians have Xavier Becerra and Gavin Newsom to thank for their struggles.
If Mr. Becerra’s record as Attorney General is any indication, every American should be alarmed by how this nominee would fight the pandemic—not with science, compassion, or common sense, but with crushing political force. Few Americans believe that California’s Lockdown Commissar deserves a promotion. Unfortunately, the Senate may just give him one.
Mr. Becerra is also a vocal advocate for the socialist takeover of healthcare known euphemistically as “Medicare for All.” He supports destroying union healthcare plans, crushing Medicare Advantage, and ultimately taking away your health insurance on the job, which covers—I would add—158 million Americans. This disastrous boondoggle would cost $34 trillion and would inevitably result in the rationing of care—hurting senior citizens most of all. “Medicare for All” would in reality result in “Medicare for None.” Last year, President Biden acknowledged that Medicare for All would yield massive tax hikes for middle-class families. Yet, Joe Biden selected a supporter of this disastrous “Medicare for All” plan to be his top cabinet official on healthcare.
And of course, Becerra wouldn’t be a Biden administration nominee if he didn’t also support open borders. But he has gone further on open borders than even the other Biden administration officials, saying out loud what so many Democrats silently believe. He has openly argued for the decriminalization of illegal immigration. He has even stated with a straight face that illegal immigration does absolutely no harm at all—directly or indirectly—to American citizens. If Mr. Becerra really believes that, he is hopelessly naïve and needs to get out a little more.
He can start by talking to the millions of Americans who are out of work, or whose wages have stagnated thanks to competition from illegal aliens. He could also visit the graves of thousands of Americans killed by Mexican drugs and terrorized by gangs like MS-13. If confirmed, Mr. Becerra would oversee our nation’s response to the drug crisis and the maintenance of many migrant detention facilities. His radical open-borders advocacy would make matters worse on both fronts. It would also fuel the ever-growing surge of unvetted, untested, and unvaccinated illegal aliens into our nation—spreading the coronavirus in our communities just as it looks like we’re about to turn the corner on this pandemic.
And finally, Mr. Becerra holds opinions on abortion that are unacceptable, unjust, and far outside the mainstream. As a member of Congress, he voted in favor of partial-birth abortion—a disturbing and deadly procedure performed in the very last stages of pregnancy. And as California’s Attorney General, he tried to destroy anyone who opposed his extreme position on this issue. He brought 15 felony charges against pro-life undercover journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal and disgusting sale of baby body parts—a move that even the liberal Los Angeles Times called “disturbingly aggressive.” He defended an unconstitutional law that would have forced pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions, the very thing that it’s their mission to oppose—something the Supreme Court called a “serious threat” to freedom of speech.
He even sued to force an order of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to purchase healthcare coverage that violated their sincerely held religious beliefs. And when he was asked about this in the Senate, like any bully, he tried to cover it up, denying that he sued the Little Sisters at all. If he will sue the Little Sisters, then what will he do to you and your family?
A few of my colleagues have indicated they’ll vote for Xavier Becerra despite disagreeing with these radical views. Perhaps they think those are just his personal beliefs—that he won’t practice what he preaches. Perhaps they think he won’t undermine pro-life protections like the Hyde Amendment and use his office to persecute Catholic nuns. I’d ask those colleagues to look at Mr. Becerra’s records, not the words he utters to get your vote—and then, to reconsider their support.
Because any honest assessment will show that Xavier Becerra is a partisan culture warrior who has consistently abused his office to punish his enemies and to enact far-left policies in Congress and in California. If the Senate confirms his nomination, they will be empowering Mr. Becerra to bring California’s lockdowns, lawsuits, and liberal policies to all of our fifty states, and that would be a disaster for our country.
I’ll close with a simple request for President Biden, who campaigned on unity and ending a terrible pandemic: merely, do what you said you’d do. Send us a nominee who will unify the country and bring consensus—not one who will scrape by on the slimmest of majorities. Send us a nominee who is actually a health-care expert—and the Senate will gladly consider them.
Xavier Becerra is not that nominee, and the Senate should reject his nomination resoundingly.