Xavier Becerra Emerges as Contender to Lead Department of Health and Human Services

Xavier Becerra could be heading to The District in the coming year…

The 62-year-old Mexican American politician and current California Attorney General has emerged as a key contender to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, according to sources familiar with the process, as President-elect Joe Biden weighs who to tap for a role that will be critical to his administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Xavier Becerra

The HHS secretary position has been a source of intrigue and confusion this week, with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo being mentioned as contenders. Raimondo has said she’s no longer a candidate and Lujan Grisham’s status is now unclear.

 

But on Friday people close to the matter said Becerra has emerged as a “contender of interest” for the post. He’s also a top candidate for attorney general.

 

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has also been mentioned as a potential pick to lead Health and Human Services, but the sources said she is being eyed for other posts as well.

 

News of Becerra’s emergence comes as Biden faces increasing pressure to deliver on his promise to build out a diverse Cabinet. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has said it wants Lujan Grisham to be Biden’s HHS secretary and has pushed Biden to select Becerra or Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez as attorney general. Members of the caucus expressed frustration in a meeting with leaders of Biden’s transition team on Thursday over how they believe Lujan Grisham has been treated in the Cabinet selection process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Friday that the transition team will announce key members of the President-elect’s health team early next week.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Speak at Next Week’s Virtual Democratic National Convention

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is set to make a major splash…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican politician and current the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district will have a speaking slot at next week’s virtual Democratic National Convention, which, because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be almost entirely virtual from locations across the country.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez, the star of the progressive left, had yet to enter elective politics in the last cycle.

The first-time congresswoman will speak on Tuesday, August 18, on the same nice a virtual roll call of delegates will take place to formally nominate Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Catherine Cortez Masto will also take the national stage.

The 56-year-old half-Mexican American lawyer and politician, who has served as a United States senator from Nevada since 2017, will appear on Monday, August 17.

And, Michelle Lujan Grisham will speak at the convention.

The 60-year-old Mexican American politician, the current governor of New Mexico, will speak on Wednesday, August 19.

In 2018, Lujan Grisham became the first Democratic woman elected governor of New Mexico, as well as the first Democratic Hispanic elected state governor in U.S. history.

Other speakers include Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.

Some of the speakers are pre-recording their speeches. The New York Times reported that Michelle Obama was pre-taping her appearance, while a source said the Bill Clinton was doing the same.

The proceedings will take place from 9:00 -11:00 pm ET each evening, starting on Monday.

The lineup:

Monday

Bernie Sanders, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), John Kasich, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Tuesday

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DL), Bill Clinton, and Jill Biden. Also planned that evening are keynote address, with the speaker yet to be identified, and a virtual roll call of delegates to formally nominate Joe Biden.

Wednesday

Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Barack Obama.

Thursday

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Newsom, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DL), Harris, the Biden family and Biden.

Democrats also announced nine speakers “from all walks of life,” designed to showcase everyday Americans at the convention.