WASHINGTON – AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Xavier Becerra as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Saunders also congratulated Becerra on becoming the first Latino to hold the office:
“I want to congratulate Secretary Becerra on making history today. Secretary Becerra understands that health care is a right, not a privilege. And because he fights to protect and expand rights and freedoms for everyone, not just the wealthy and connected, he is the right person to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this crucial moment.
“Secretary Becerra’s career has been focused on fairness and equity. As California’s attorney general, he protected the state’s residents from legal and administrative attacks against their health care and the rights protected by the Affordable Care Act.
“At HHS, he will work so that everyone will have fair access to health care without discrimination, no matter where they live, what language they speak, what gender they are or how much money they have. And he will ensure that our nation’s COVID-19 response does not continue to compound existing health care inequities that disproportionately hurt people of color and weaken our communities.
“AFSCME members protect the health of their communities every day, and we are excited to work with Secretary Becerra on making health care more accessible, fair and equitable.”