Sacramento, CA (March 18, 2021) -  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California released the following statement from Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU California and Executive Director of SEIU Local 721 after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

“Secretary Becerra assumes his new post as we continue to grapple with the biggest healthcare crisis in over 100 years and the devastating inequities it has laid bare. We have the utmost confidence that Mr. Becerra can lead our nation in overcoming these interrelated challenges. 

“The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden last week takes significant steps toward this long road of healing. Now we must rebuild and expand our public health infrastructure, ensure equity in vaccination, work to ensure greater access and affordability in our healthcare system, and take strong steps to protect all essential workers, who continue to face the threat of contracting the virus and bringing it home to our families.  

“As the first Latino HHS Secretary, Mr. Becerra makes history. As the son of working immigrant parents, he is deeply attuned to the needs working people have for high-quality, affordable health care. He knows that families need to be able to afford to bring their child to the doctor, that emergency room visits should not result in surprise bills and bankruptcy, and that our elders and loved ones with disabilities must have access to high quality, affordable long term care, as much as possible in home and community settings.  

“A champion for healthcare access and justice, Secretary Becerra worked to pass and protect the Affordable Care Act in the House, defended the landmark law as California’s Attorney General and has consistently challenged corporate greed in the healthcare sector.  

“We congratulate Secretary Becerra and look forward to working with him to ensure every American has the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where they were born or whether they are Brown, Black, white, API or Native American.”