As our nation continues battling the worst pandemic of our generation, Americans expected the new administration to nominate a qualified candidate to lead the Department of Health and Human Services: a leader equipped both to expedite vaccine distribution and help defeat COVID-19 while earning broad bipartisan support at the same time. This was a reasonable expectation, given then-candidate Joe Biden’s campaign promise to be a centrist, unifying leader.
Instead, President Biden violated that pledge by choosing a career politician who not only has zero direct healthcare management expertise but also holds indefensible and radical views on abortion and religious liberty.
That’s why last month, I led a bicameral letter with Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, to Biden asking that he withdraw the nomination of Xavier Becerra. While the president stuck with his nominee, the Senate has every reason to reject such an unqualified partisan from leading our nation’s public health authority.
For starters, Becerra’s lack of qualifications is troubling, especially given Biden’s boasting that he would have a better plan and put better people in place to handle our pandemic response than the Trump administration. So after all that talk, this is who the president picked to run HHS?
If his time in Congress is any indicator, Becerra would be wholly ineffective and radical to a fault — from his support of taxpayer-funded abortion to his vote against a partial-birth abortion ban to his preaching in favor of single-payer healthcare.
But Becerra continued these extremist tendencies as California’s attorney general. Not only did he sue the Trump administration to halt commonsense policies that provided relief from Obamacare, but he notably led a crusade against freedom of conscience. His biggest claim to fame is bullying a group of nuns into violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.
He can pretend now that this didn’t happen, but the Little Sisters of the Poor lived it firsthand, as these faithful nuns were sued by Becerra for refusing to provide contraception in violation of their faith.
Overall, Becerra’s tenure as California’s attorney general was marred by a similar pattern of targeting individuals or groups who disagreed with his extremist political views — like when he led California’s effort to shutter churches during the pandemic or force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortion services.
Simply put, Becerra is not the highly-qualified, uniting force Biden promised.
Now more than ever, HHS needs a capable leader who can work to reopen our country. Becerra does not fit the bill. We’ve already seen how he operates wielding power over one state. Imagine what such a radical will do on the national stage. Given what we know already, the Senate must reject this nomination on a strong bipartisan basis.
And if it doesn’t, voters won’t forget the ones who supported him.
Rep. Dan Bishop represents North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Reprinted with Permission from - Washington Examiner by - Rep. Dan Bishop
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