Two U.S. Senate committees have scheduled hearings next week on President Biden’s nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be the next U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary. In December, Becerra helped spearhead a bipartisan letter of 29 state attorneys general calling upon then HHS Secretary Alex Azar to sanction the six pharmaceutical manufacturers who have stopped offering or have placed conditions on 340B discounts to contract pharmacies.
The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which will not vote on the nomination, will hold a courtesy hearing to hear from Becerra on Tuesday Feb. 23 at 10:00 a.m. EST. The HELP Committee has jurisdiction over the 340B program. The Finance Committee, which will vote on Becerra’s nomination, will hold its hearing on Wednesday Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Republican senators are expected to grill Becerra about his views on abortion and California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s response to the pandemic. The hearings will also likely focus on the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear, but would not be surprising, if the 340B program is brought up during one or more of the hearings.