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Becerra Confirmed to Shepherd Biden's Ambitious Health Plans

Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra

Photographer: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg

Updated on

Washington (AP) -- The Senate on Thursday confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as President Joe Biden's health secretary, filling a key position in the administration's coronavirus response and its ambitious push to lower drug costs, expand insurance coverage, and eliminate racial disparities in medical care.

The 50-49 largely party-line vote makes the 63-year-old Becerra the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services. The $1.4 trillion agency encompasses health insurance programs, drug safety and approvals, advanced medical research, substance abuse treatment, and the welfare of children, including hundreds of Central American migrants arriving daily at the U.S.-Mexico border.