The hearing and approval process of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services is likely to start in mid-February. The HHS Secretary-designate goes before two Senate Committees, the Finance Committee, and the HELP Committee.


The process has been slow, and in fact, until a final Senate shared power agreement was reached on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, Senate Republicans were still technically in the chair’s seat of each committee. That was settled on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, and now committee assignments on both sides can be made, and the Democrats are now chairing the committees.


Becerra will likely testify before the Finance Committee first. President Biden announced his choice of Becerra in early December. Before he was the California Attorney General, he had served in Congress between 1993 and his elevation to Attorney General in January 2017. As Attorney General, he has led several joint-state lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Most recently, he led an effort by several attorneys general in defense of the ACA when that case was argued before the Supreme Court this past November. If the Court were to strike-down or limit the ACA somehow, Becerra would be the key cabinet member involved in any fix.


As a House of Representatives member, he served on the Ways and Means Committee, including a stint on the Subcommittee on Human Resources, the subcommittee (now called the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee) that deals with child welfare issues. More recently, he was on the Subcommittee on Social Security and the Subcommittee on Health.


Hearings should start shortly after the Senate completes the impeachment trial of former President Trump, after February 15. As of the end of this week, the Senate has confirmed the Biden appointees for Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellin, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm,