PPIC Logo Independent, objective, nonpartisan research
Portrait of Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra

US Department of Health and Human Services

Xavier Becerra is the secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the United States. As secretary, he carries out President Biden’s vision to build a healthy America; his work focuses on ensuring that all Americans have health security and access to health care. Previously, he served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the US House of Representatives. During his tenure, he was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, and he served as chairman of his party’s caucus, ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Health. For over two decades in Congress, he worked so that every family had the assurance of care that his own family had when he was growing up. As attorney general of the state of California, he took on pharmaceutical companies that restricted competition through “pay for delay” schemes and held several companies accountable for legal violations in not protecting patients’ health information. He took action early in the pandemic to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19, secure key safeguards for frontline health care workers’ rights, and take on fraudsters trying to take advantage of people. Born in Sacramento, he was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his BA in economics from Stanford University. He earned his JD from Stanford Law School.