On the surface, it makes absolutely no sense to put California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s not a medical professional, and in fact has absolutely no experience in the healthcare field at all. Why then has Joe Biden picked Becerra to head up the agency?
Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey says the move is a pander to Planned Parenthood and abortion activists and a “harbinger of more hostility to conscience protections and religious expression.”
It’s insane to choose Becerra in the middle of the pandemic. Democrats have accused Trump of politicizing health care all year long and demanded that he put doctors in charge of the effort. Biden’s first move after this is to put a political hack in charge, an attorney whose primary focus is abortion. So much for depoliticizing health care, eh?
I have no doubt that Becerra’s nomination has a lot to do with appeasing pro-abortion forces, but as Secretary of Health and Human Services he could also steer the department towards viewing “gun violence” as a public health concern. We’ve already seen President Trump’s HHS secretary Alex Azar give the green light for the CDC to conduct research into gun-related violence, and in a Biden administration, the department could be used to funnel more federal dollars to anti-gun activists and junk studies promoting a variety of gun control measures.
If there’s any silver lining to the announcement, it’s that Becerra won’t be Biden’s Attorney General, though I have no doubt that Biden’s eventual pick will be just as hostile to the Second Amendment as Becerra has been in his role as California’s top law enforcement official. Becerra has not only defended California’s restrictive gun control laws, he’s teamed up with gun control groups in recent months to sue the ATF over the agency’s handling of unfinished receivers and frames.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined with gun control advocates in filing a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, demanding that the agency begin classifying unfinished frames and receivers as “firearms” under federal law, which would require that they be serialized and that buyers undergo background checks when purchasing them from retailers.
There are several problems with the arguments by Becerra, but the biggest issue for the gun control groups is that there’s no law being broken here, at least on the part of the BATFE. As the agency notes on its website, unfinished receivers (typically referred to as “80% receivers” because they’re only 80% complete) don’t meet the definition of a firearm as defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Becerra’s hostility towards gun owners may not have been the determining factor in being chosen to run Health and Human Services, but it certainly didn’t hurt his standing at all. Joe Biden keeps making noise about wanting to be a “unifying” president, but so far his cabinet picks are only unified in opposition to our Second Amendment rights.