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NYT: Biden Picks California Attorney General Becerra to Lead Health and Human Services

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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who is now the Democratic attorney general of California, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services, ending a politically delicate search that brought complaints from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about a lack of Latinos in the incoming cabinet.

Mr. Becerra became Mr. Biden’s clear choice only over the last few days, according to people familiar with the transition’s deliberations, and was a surprise. He has carved out a profile more on the issues of criminal justice, immigration and tax policy, and he was long thought to be a candidate for attorney general.

But as attorney general in California, he led legal efforts on health care, including seeking to protect the Affordable Care Act from being dismantled by Republican attorneys general. He has also been a leading voice in the Democratic Party for women’s health.

If confirmed, he will immediately face a daunting task in leading the department at a critical moment during a pandemic that has killed more than 281,000 people in the United States — and one that has taken a particularly devastating toll on people of color.

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