health and human services
With the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump concluded and a second wave of pandemic relief steadily advancing, Senate committees are also considering each of President Joe Biden's cabinet nominations.
While some of Biden's cabinet picks—such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield—have been confirmed by the Senate, other nominees are facing heavier obstacles in their path to confirmation.
One such nominee is former California Attorney General and prospective Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, whose nomination will be considered by two Senate committees this week.
Ahead of those hearings, 11 Republican Senators—led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas—voiced opposition to the appointment in a letter to Biden, urging him to withdraw the nomination.
"Mr. Becerra's lack of qualifications is particularly alarming given the important role the HHS Secretary will play in efforts to develop and distribute vaccines, coordinate research efforts, and draft critical regulations to carry out recovery legislation."
The Congress members' concerns with Becerra's so-called lack of qualifications awakened the B.S. detectors of Democrats old enough to remember Trump's cabinet nominations and their subsequent considerations.
This was especially true for Dr. Ben Carson—the renowned neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate—whom Trump inexplicably appointed to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
While Carson would've been a shoo-in for HHS Secretary, his selection for HUD Secretary confounded many, because not only had Carson never worked in government, but he'd had virtually no experience in housing or development sectors.
Nevertheless, every Senator who signed the letter urging Biden to withdraw Becerra's nomination voted in favor of Carson's, with the exception of two—Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, neither of whom were Senators at the time of Carson's nomination.
This was but one of Trump's nomination that sparked concerns at the time due to their lack of experience.
Americans hadn't forgotten, and soon "Ben Carson" was trending on Twitter.
Rather rich that Republicans who voted for Devos (expert in yacht-ownership) to run Education, and Ben Carson (expe… https://t.co/EZoxDrKr9V— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas)1614092110.0
.@XavierBecerra is immensely qualified and can easily serve as HHS Secty or any position in government. The hypocr… https://t.co/j7agpgmPou— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair)1614094443.0
Oh hello Betsy Devos and Ben Carson https://t.co/o1ullqEOQS— Grace Meng (@Grace Meng)1614094560.0
Worth noting that many of these senators supported Betsy DeVos in her desire to lead the Education Department, putt… https://t.co/KG4NsKh0Nf— Eugene Scott (@Eugene Scott)1614118449.0
But you loved Ben Carson for HUD? You had a few too many margaritas in Cancun, Ted... https://t.co/jShjx8tDSC— Brian O'Sullivan (@Brian O'Sullivan)1614091615.0
@tedcruz Hey Flyin’ Ted- DeVos had no background in education other than spending much of her adult life attempting… https://t.co/NVKnxf7mXD— Jo (@Jo)1614094192.0
Others defended Becerra's qualifications.
Becerra served for 24 years in the House, and was a senior member of the committee that sets health care policy. Y… https://t.co/v0DHKBDhFt— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer)1614092524.0
I’ve known Attorney General Xavier Becerra for years as both a friend and colleague. He’s a strong advocate for aff… https://t.co/1R1d2edHlq— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@Senator Dianne Feinstein)1614099183.0
Nearly two dozen medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have urged the Senate to confirm… https://t.co/qmRl1WqlvE— Ian Sams (@Ian Sams)1614089009.0
Becerra has said that as HHS Secretary, his work will be to "build on our progress and ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care—through this pandemic and beyond."