Letter: Support for Xavier Becerra's Confirmation to be HHS Secretary

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Dear Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, Chair Murray, and Ranking Member Burr,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 31 undersigned
organizations dedicated to the universal values of dignity, equity, justice, and inclusion in
health care, write in strong support of the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier
Becerra to be the next Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
In the midst of a pandemic that has compounded our preexisting public health crisis of
structural racism and its resulting deep health inequities, it is imperative that the next leader
of HHS be someone with a full understanding of how equity, justice, and health care are
inextricably linked. Attorney General Becerra has consistently demonstrated that he is that
• During his time as a member of Congress, Attorney General Becerra served on the House
Ways and Means Committee, where he developed deep expertise on the Affordable Care
Act (ACA). His leadership in later defending the ACA against legal challenges is a key
reason why the ACA, the greatest advance in access to health care for a generation, is still
in effect.
• Becerra is committed to putting patients first, and as attorney general, has worked to
ensure nondiscrimination protections in access to care, particularly for women, LGBTQ
individuals, people of color, older adults, and individuals in rural and low-income
communities. In addition, he has shown strong support for reproductive rights, including
for access to birth control and abortion services.

• Becerra led the country in defending against the harmful Public Charge rule and attacks
on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, showing his dedication
to protecting the rights of immigrants and their families.
• Becerra has worked tirelessly to help ensure the availability of affordable prescription
drugs, once again demonstrating his commitment to providing equitable access to care.
• As attorney general, Becerra established the Bureau of Disability Rights within the Civil
Rights Enforcement Section of the California Department of Justice, the latest example in
his long record of working for disability justice.
• Becerra’s record also indicates that he would bring to the position a deep understanding
of the ways in which access to social and economic opportunities and resources
contribute to health and health outcomes. For example, Becerra has shown a deep
commitment to ensuring fair housing, most recently opposing efforts to weaken federal
protections against housing discrimination as well as efforts to cut off housing assistance
eligibility, which threatened vulnerable families with eviction. He also established the
Worker Rights and Fair Labor Section within the California Department of Justice to help
protect the health, safety, and rights of working people, linking the creation of the new
section to the urgent need to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working

We cannot afford to have our next Secretary of Health and Human Services learning about our country’s
deepened health inequities on the job. Following the injustices and harms inflicted on some of our most
vulnerable communities over the last four years, it is critical that the next Secretary of Health and Human
Services be a person well-equipped to handle our country’s deep health inequities. In order to emerge
from this pandemic with healthier, stronger, more resilient communities, we need a Secretary of HHS
who has fought for, and will prioritize health care access and equity for all people in America. For this
reason, we urge you to support the confirmation of Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be the next
Secretary of HHS.
If you have any questions, please contact Gaylynn Burroughs, senior policy counsel at The Leadership
Conference, at burroughs@civilrights.org, or the co-chairs of The Leadership Conference Health Care
Task Force: Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, vice president for health justice at the National Partnership for
Women & Families at shc@nationalpartnership.org and Mara Youdelman, managing attorney at the
National Health Law Program, at youdelman@healthlaw.org.


Becerra_Support_Letter_HCTF_02_22_2021_FINAL[1] copy

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