Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary

March 19, 2021

The U.S. Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services by a narrow vote of 50-49, Thursday.

Becerra will oversee all the federal health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Most recently, Becerra served as California’s attorney general. He also served 12 terms in Congress and led the defense of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court.

Becerra, whose mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico, was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning both his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Juris Doctorate from Stanford University.

Multiple healthcare associations lauded the action:

Susan R. Bailey, MD President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association welcomes Senate confirmation of Xavier Becerra to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services. His leadership will be tested early as he arrives amid a pandemic and challenges to the Affordable Care Act. The AMA believes he is the right person for the job and looks forward to working with him to ensure that all Americans have access to quality health care during this perilous time.”

Today, Emily Barson, Executive Director of United States of Care (USofCare), issued the following statement on the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

United States of Care congratulates Xavier Becerra on his confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Our nation faces enormous healthcare challenges requiring steady leadership. These include helping our country heal and recover from a once-in-a-century pandemic, a sharpened focus on health inequities, and people’s lack of health security, including when one loses or changes jobs. We believe Secretary Becerra’s experience at both the federal and state levels working to advance and protect access to affordable health care will be a tremendous asset in this position.

“We further congratulate Secretary Becerra on becoming the nation’s first Latino HHS Secretary. His confirmation comes at a pivotal moment in the pandemic, which has taken a disproportionately devastating toll on communities of color. We look forward to working with Secretary Becerra and the Biden-Harris Administration to build a better, more equitable health care system in the wake of COVID-19.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) congratulates newly confirmed Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and pledges its continued support to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and expand access to high-quality healthcare.

"On behalf of the more than 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners (NPs) in the United States today, AANP congratulates Secretary Becerra," said Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, president of AANP. "NPs stand ready to work with Secretary Becerra, HHS and the Biden Administration to address the critical health care issues facing our nation, including expanding access to high-quality health care to diverse populations, encouraging patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them, as well as treating the influx of patients who are currently battling this devastating disease."