President Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, committed to collecting health data based on race during a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) questioned Becerra on the subject of racial “equity” during the hearing.
“It’s time to start treating structural racism like any other public health problem, investing research into its symptoms and its causes and finding ways to mitigate its effects,” Warren said. “Will you commit to collecting the data we need to see the racial disparities in our health care system and to attacking those disparities head on?”
Becerra responded, “Senator, I’m looking forward to working with you on this because it’s time.”
It isn’t clear if Becerra’s nomination will advance to confirmation. Becerra faces extensive opposition from Republicans over his pro-abortion record, both as California attorney general and a former member of Congress.
Senate meetings on Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, were delayed on Wednesday morning. That delay came after Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate Democrat, announced his opposition to Tanden over her “overtly partisan statements.” Tanden came under scrutiny for multiple posts on Twitter attacking congressional Republicans, as well as a reportedly physical altercation in 2008 with Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) future campaign manager.