Senate hearings for HHS, surgeon general this week: 8 things to know

President Joe Biden's nominee to lead HHS, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and his nominee for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, MD, are set to appear before Senate committees this week. 

Here are eight things to know about them:

Mr. Becerra

1. Mr. Becerra is set to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Feb. 23 and the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 24.

2. Mr. Becerra's hearings come amid Republican and conservative opposition to his nomination. Republicans opposed to the nomination cite Mr. Becerra's support for abortion rights and "Medicare for All," among other issues, according to Politico. The publication reported that several conservative groups — Judicial Crisis Network, Heritage Action for America and Americans for Public Trust — have also launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign against the nomination.

3. President Biden chose Mr. Becerra as his nominee for HHS secretary in December. Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Biden transition, described Mr. Becerra as a "tested, qualified" leader in a statement about his work as California's attorney general and his efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Politico.

4. If confirmed by the full Senate, Mr. Becerra would be the first Latino to head HHS.  

Dr. Murthy

5. Dr. Murthy is set to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Feb. 25.

6. Dr. Murthy was surgeon general from Dec. 15, 2014, to April 21, 2017. He was the first surgeon general of Indian descent. 

7. Dr. Murthy, who advised Joe Biden on COVID-19 during the 2020 presidential campaign, also co-founded Doctors for America, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization with more than 18,000 physician and medical student members from across the U.S.

8. Additionally, The Washington Post reported Feb. 20 that Dr. Murthy received more than $2 million in 2020 doing coronavirus-related consulting and speeches. According to the newspaper, which cited ethics documents filed in January, the consulting was for Carnival Corp.'s cruise lines, Airbnb's rental properties and other firms. Read the full article here


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