WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as President Joe Biden's health secretary.
Becerra fills a key position in the administration's coronavirus response and its ambitious push to lower drug costs, expand insurance coverage, and eliminate racial disparities in medical care.
Thursday's vote was 50-49.
The 63-year-old Becerra is the first Latino to head the Health and Human Services Department.
The core components of the $1.4 trillion department are the boots on the ground of the coronavirus response, from the Food and Drug Administration's review of vaccines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance for reopening schools.
He'll also be the point man on Biden's sweeping health care agenda.
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR