Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Today’s Confirmation Of Xavier Becerra As HHS Secretary And Continuing To Deliver All Of President Biden’s Cabinet Nominees

March 18, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary and progress toward confirming all of President Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today, the Senate will vote to confirm another member of President Biden’s Cabinet: Xavier Becerra to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In truth, Attorney General Becerra’s nomination should not have taken this long. From the moment Attorney General Becerra was announced as President Biden’s pick for HHS, Senate Republicans have tried to derail his nomination.

Their arguments almost verge on the ridiculous. They’ve complained loudly that he has no direct experience as a medical professional, even though Republicans voted in lock-step to install Alex Azar, a pharmaceutical executive who raised drug prices and tried to undermine our nation’s health law, as the previous HHS Secretary.

Mr. Becerra, by contrast, has decades of standing up for working-and middle-class Americans in Congress, fighting to protect and expand Medicare, Medicaid, and working to safeguard our health care system from attacks by the Trump Administration. As the Biden Administration works to defeat this pandemic, the president deserves to have his cabinet confirmed, especially a post as important as HHS Secretary. I look forward to completing his nomination today.

A few days after Democrats gained control of the Senate, we had big tasks ahead of us straight away.

I said that we had three important priorities to do quickly: one, the impeachment trial of Donald Trump; two, big and bold COVID relief; and three, President Biden’s cabinet.

We have already finished the first two priorities. And very soon, we are going to finish the third.

I want to thank my colleagues, my Democratic colleagues, for working so quickly, so hard, and in such a unified team effort, to allow all this to happen. I’m very proud of what we have done in these first few months.

Later today, the Senate will take its first vote on the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be our nation’s Labor Secretary.

Early next week, after we confirm him, the Senate will have confirmed every available Cabinet Secretary—and many more Cabinet-level appointments besides. That’s excellent progress, and again, I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, for their votes and support of these fine nominees.

What does it mean? It means the Biden Administration will have the personnel in place to implement the American Rescue Plan, finish the fight against COVID-19, and bring our country roaring back. In the meantime, the Senate must continue to work to get the rest of the President’s team in place.