The HHS secretary position has been a source of intrigue and confusion this week, with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo being mentioned as contenders. Raimondo has said she’s no longer a candidate and Lujan Grisham’s status is now unclear.
But on Friday people close to the matter said Becerra has emerged as a “contender of interest” for the post. He is also a top candidate for attorney general.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has also been mentioned as a potential pick to lead Health and Human Services, but the sources said she is being eyed for other posts as well.
A transition official declined to comment.
News of Becerra’s emergence comes as Biden faces increasing pressure
to deliver on his promise to build out a diverse Cabinet. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has said it wants Lujan Grisham to be Biden’s HHS secretary and has pushed Biden to select Becerra or Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez as attorney general. Members of the caucus
expressed frustration in a meeting with leaders of Biden’s transition team on Thursday over how they believe Lujan Grisham has been treated in the Cabinet selection process.
Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Friday that the transition team will announce key members of the President-elect’s health team early next week.
“You will be hearing more about the President-elect and the vice president-elect’s team early next week and about their health team early next week — and I would also just reiterate that there will be more to come after that,” Psaki said.
CNN reported Thursday that Jeffrey Zients
is expected to be tapped as White House coronavirus coordinator. Zients, a top economic adviser under President Barack Obama and a co-chair of Biden’s transition team, is credited with reviving the Obamacare enrollment website, Healthcare.gov, which had been plagued with issues and crashed shortly after its launch in 2013.
Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Thursday that he had asked Dr. Anthony Fauci
to stay on in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and to serve as a chief medical adviser to his administration.