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Xavier Becerra, if nominated, would be the first Latino to run the HHS. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Xavier Becerra, if nominated, would be the first Latino to run the HHS. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Xavier Becerra’s cabinet nomination faces opposition by conservatives, but it’s probably too late

Conservative groups are making a last-ditch effort to undermine Biden’s Health and Human Services cabinet pick.

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Conservative organizations are launching a multi-million dollar advertising campaign aimed at discrediting two of President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees, Xavier Becerra (D-CA) to lead Health and Human Services, and Vanita Gupta, Becerra’s nominee for associate attorney general.

First reported by POLITICO, Heritage Action for America, the Judicial Crisis Network, and Americans for Public Trust are behind a considerable ad buy targeting Attorney Becerra’s nomination.

The trio are spending $600,000 on ads, spending $400,000 on cable television for an ad running on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN as of Thursday morning, plus an additional $200,000 on digital ads.

At the same time, Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion conservative group, is seeking to garner support to pressure lawmakers to oppose Becerra's confirmation.

All the ads and efforts are tied by a similar thread —they seek to highlight Becerra and Gupta’s perceived “radical” policies, honing in on Becerra’s support for women’s reproductive rights, the Affordable Care Act and Gupta’s support for police reform. 

Becerra is well known for his lawsuits, and one ad berates him for “suing Catholic nuns.” The California Attorney General has also faced an increased number of allegations that he runs antagonist policies towards people of faith. 

He faces the highest scrutiny from the ad buy, especially being that Becerra isn’t a physician. 

The conservative groups have also released an ad to highlight the role “dark money” played in electing Biden, as well as the shaping of his Cabinet and agenda, Politico reported.

Is it too late?

Becerra is set to appear before the Senate Health Committee next Tuesday, giving the ad buys limited time to serve their intended effects. 

But the conservative players aren’t letting up, having also planned a campaign of texts, email, calls, and phone banks, ramping up their grassroots strategy. 

But is it too late?

Biden's Cabinet nominees have been confirmed so far with bipartisan approval, and there is no obvious effort or sign that it will change. 

Before his nomination, Becerra made headlines earlier in 2020, when California made history for suing President Donald Trump over 100 times.

President Joe Biden made the surprise decision on Dec. 4 of selecting Becerra to run the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If confirmed, he would be the first Latino to run the department.

The announcement came at a critical time, when Latinos are not only underrepresented within key White House positions, but also as one of most-affected demographics throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Becerra has long been an outspoken supporter of the Affordable Care Act, environmental issues, and Women's rights — all critical issues he will have to confront in his new position (if confirmed).

Becerra served 12 terms in Congress, representing Los Angeles. 

During his tenure, he was the first Latino to serve as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, where he gained experience working with health care as a senior member of its health subcommittee. Becerra also led the House Democratic Caucus.

He became Attorney General of California in 2017.

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