Senate Confirms Becerra as HHS Secretary

Situation Report | March 22, 2021

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Xavier Becerra as the next Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

At 50-to-49, the Senate confirmation was the narrowest yet for a Biden cabinet appointee, with votes largely falling along party lines (Maine Senator Susan Collins was the lone Republican vote in his favor).

HHS is the largest Department in terms of federal spending. In addition to broad health care administration, it oversees many agencies and offices affecting home and community-based providers and policy, including the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), and more. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are among its major divisions.

Becerra was previously California’s Attorney General. He is also a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he worked on the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

As previously reported, President Biden has nominated Chiquita White Brooks-LaSure to be the Administrator for CMS, a branch within HHS. Her nomination also requires Senate confirmation.