11 GOP senators ask Biden to withdraw Becerra nomination

Eleven Senate Republicans announced their opposition to President Biden’s nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary ahead of his confirmation hearings before two committees this week.

The senators, led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), urged Biden in a letter to withdraw the nomination of Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, arguing he is unqualified to lead the HHS.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Why it matters: To state the obvious, Biden is highly unlikely to withdraw Becerra’s nomination, which will be considered this week by the Senate Finance and Health committees. Some of these Republicans were never going to support Becerra.

To be confirmed by the Senate, he would need at least 51 votes, which Democrats will have if every single member of the caucus votes for him and Vice President Harris breaks a tie. What will be interesting is where swing votes like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) fall.