President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has chosen Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who’s now the Democratic lawyer basic of California, as his nominee for secretary of well being and human companies, ending a politically delicate search that introduced complaints from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus a couple of lack of Latinos within the incoming cupboard.
Mr. Becerra turned Mr. Biden’s clear alternative solely over the previous few days, in response to individuals aware of the transition’s deliberations, and was a shock. He has carved out a profile extra on the problems of felony justice, immigration and tax coverage, and he was lengthy considered a candidate for lawyer basic.
However as lawyer basic in California, he led authorized efforts on well being care, together with main 20 states and the District of Columbia in a marketing campaign to guard the Reasonably priced Care Act from being dismantled by Republican attorneys basic. He has additionally been a number one voice within the Democratic Social gathering for girls’s well being.
If confirmed, he’ll instantly face a frightening job in main the division at a crucial second throughout a pandemic that has killed more than 281,000 people in the United States — and one which has taken a very devastating toll on people of color.
Mr. Becerra, 62, served 12 phrases in Congress, representing Los Angeles, earlier than changing into the lawyer basic of his residence state in 2017. He’s the primary Latino to carry that workplace, and whereas in Congress he was the primary Latino to function a member of the Methods and Means Committee. He additionally led the Home Democratic Caucus, which gave him a robust management put up.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious ailments at Massachusetts Normal Hospital, might be tapped to guide the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, in response to an individual aware of Mr. Biden’s deliberations. Ms. Walensky, whose choice was reported earlier by Politico, will substitute Dr. Robert R. Redfield because the chief of the scientific company on the forefront of the nation’s pandemic response.