Biden selects Xavier Becerra, now California AG, as director of well being and human assets

Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, speaks during a press conference at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, the United States, on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

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President-elect Joe Biden will select Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, as director of the Department of Health and Human Services, three sources familiar with the decision told NBC News.

If Becerra is confirmed, it will play a vital role in the nation’s response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,000 people die from the virus every day as the rising number of cases leads to hospitalizations and threatens to overwhelm the country’s health system.

The New York Times reported the news first.

Biden’s selection of Becerra comes in response to calls from the Hispanic Caucus of Congress for the president-elect to include more Hispanics in his cabinet selection. The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on Black and Hispanic Americans, who are more likely to get the virus, hospitalized and die than white Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Becerra, the first Hispanic American to serve as attorney general in California, has led a coalition of 20 states defending the Affordable Care Act against efforts by the Trump administration and Republican-led states to invalidate the landmark health bill to explain.

As HHS secretary, Becerra would head a sprawling division overseeing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the National Institutes of Health.

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