Politics Romney Hits Becerra on Partial-Birth Abortion: ‘Sounds Like We’re Not Going to Reach Common Ground’
Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars
Senate Republicans are setting their sights on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, President Biden's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, as their next target in the battle over Biden's Cabinet.Republicans, on the cusp of quashing Neera Tanden's nomination to head the White House budget office, are looking for their next scalp and see Becerra as a tough vote for Democrats.They argue that Becerra, who served for 24 years in the House before becoming California's attorney general in 2017, lacks the medical or administrative background needed to lead the nation's health agencies in the midst of a pandemic.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) criticized President Biden’s nominee for health secretary, California attorney general Xavier Becerra, over the latter’s refusal to ban partial-birth abortions.
Becerra, a former representative in Congress, voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions in 2000 that ultimately passed the House. Republicans haveof Becerra’s record of support for abortion.
Xavier Becerra, HHS nominee, largely escapes Republican attacks
With measured, circumspect remarks, Xavier Becerra deflected attacks on his record from Republican senators hoping to scuttle his nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services. If he is confirmed, as appeared likely as of Tuesday afternoon, Becerra will be the first person of Latino descent to head the department, at a time when inequalities in health delivery and health outcomes are at the center of the national conversation. Currently the attorney general of California, Becerra has no expertise in medicine, which led some to question why the Biden administration nominated him.
.: "You voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. Why?"
Becerra: "I understand that people have different deeply held beliefs on this issue….We may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground."
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan)
While “mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats disagree” on abortion, “most people agree that partial-birth abortion is awful,” Romney said at Becerra’s confirmation hearing. “You voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion. Why?”
Becerra responded, “When I come to these issues, I understand that we may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground on these issues.”
Culture Warrior Xavier Becerra is Unqualified to Lead HSS Department | Opinion
President Biden has nominated a deeply unqualified man with a long history of antagonism toward people of faith. Becerra has consistently used his power to punish political opponents in pursuit of an ideological agenda.Becerra has been nominated to lead one of our most important government agencies, tasked with enhancing the health and wellbeing of all Americans. Yet he is a deeply partisan and ideologically driven nominee with no formal education, training or background in medicine or health. His most notable experience could best be described as waging left-wing culture wars while serving as attorney general of California.
“I think we can reach common ground on many issues,” Romney said, “but on partial-birth abortion it sounds like we’re not going to reach common ground there.”
Additionally, Senator Mike Braun (R., Ind.) asked Becerra during the hearing whether the nominee would commit to not funding abortions with taxpayer money.
SEN BRAUN: "Will you commit to not using taxpayer money to fund abortions and abortion providers?"
BECERRA: "We will follow the law when it comes to the use of federal resources. There I can make that commitment that we will follow the law."
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller)
“We will follow the law when it comes to the use of federal resources,” Becerra said. “There I can make that commitment that we will follow the law.”
“Not really the particular answer I was looking for,” Braun commented.
It is unclear if Becerra will receive enough support to be confirmed as health secretary. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat who has voted with Republicans on a number of issues, ison whether to support Becerra’s confirmation.
Republicans hit mute on Obamacare wars
The pandemic and Biden’s incremental policies have scrambled the party’s usual lines of attack.GOP lawmakers rarely mention Obamacare, and a GOP-backed challenge to the law at the Supreme Court doesn’t appear to be a major threat. Republican attacks on Democrats pursuing a “government takeover” of health care through a single-payer system don’t quite sizzle when President Joe Biden has made clear he wants nothing to do with it. And long-favored Republican designs on shrinking the health care safety net isn’t great policy or politics in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis.
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