Xavier Becerra, who previously served as the attorney general in the state of California, was confirmed as the first Latino Health Secretary of the US by the US Senate in a cutthroat vote. 

The final outcome of the crucial Senate vote turned out to be 50 to 49, paving the way for the Becerra to lead the country’s health department which struggles to recover from the deadly pandemic, reported AFP. 

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The US Department of Health and Human Services, a federal body, is responsible to oversee the operations of key institutes like the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, which have played a substantial part in handling the severely impacted health situation in the US. 

The Democrat-Republican divide in the US Senate was seen clearly during the session, where only one Republican crossed party lines and voted for the confirmation of Becerra. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, spoke highly of the candidate and said he would be an ideal choice. 

Republican Senators present in the confirmation proceedings of Becerra argued that he lacked any significant exposure required for the position.  

The Senators against the confirmation went on to call the candidate too liberal to be the Health Secretary of the US and insisted that he might work for depriving US citizens of privately purchased health insurance, reported AFP.

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Steve Daines, a Republican Senator from the state of Montana wrote on Twitter, “Becerra has made a career out of promoting far-left priorities like free healthcare for illegal immigrants, open borders & no restrictions on abortion.”

The Senate now seeks to vote for Marty Walsh, US President Joe Biden’s pick for the position of Secretary of Labor, the last remaining vacant seat in the President’s cabinet.