GOP targets Manchin, Sinema, Kelly on Becerra

Heritage Action, a conservative grassroots group, announced Wednesday a $500,000 ad campaign in West Virginia and Arizona opposing Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Overnight Health Care: Biden says US will have enough vaccine for all adults by end of May | Biden calls on all states to vaccinate teachers by the end of March | Texas, Mississippi lift mask mandates Becerra tells Warren he will do ‘thorough review’ of executive actions on drug prices MORE’s nomination to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services, describing him as a “radical pick” with “zero medical experience.”

The ads specifically target Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden’s picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark KellyMark KellyHouse Freedom Caucus chair weighs Arizona Senate bid Koch-backed group launches ads urging lawmakers to reject COVID-19 relief bill Conservative groups seek to bolster opposition to Biden’s HHS pick MORE (D-Ariz.), urging them to “vote no on Becerra.”

With President BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not ‘high priority’ for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE’s choice to lead the White House budget office, Neera TandenNeera TandenMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden On The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden’s picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE, withdrawing her nomination Tuesday, the battle over Biden’s Cabinet is turning to Health and Human Services

Republicans hope they can persuade a centrist Democrat to flip on Becerra just as Manchin did on Tanden because of her harsh criticism of fellow senators on Twitter.

A group of Republican senators led by Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden’s .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Okla.) held a press conference last week pledging to oppose Becerra and highlighting his record as California attorney general of fighting for abortion rights, including his defense of California’s Fact Law, which required pro-life pregnancy counseling centers to provide information about public abortion and contraceptive programs. The Supreme Court later stuck down the law in 5-4 decision.

The ad running in West Virginia calls the Becerra vote “a big test for Joe Manchin,” hitting him over Becerra’s stance on guns and coal, two big issues in the state.


The ad’s narrator says the nominee “thinks guns are a health crisis and wants to ban them” and “is against coal” and “tried to ban them from California ports.”

Becerra last year oversaw operations throughout California where agents with the state’s Department of Justice seized dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, assault weapons and drugs as the result of ammunition background checks.

In 2017, Becerra filed a lawsuit in federal court to protect residents from pollution from coal mining and challenging the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to allow coal leasing on public land.

In 2018, Becerra backed the city of Oakland’s effort to stop a developer from transporting coal through a marine terminal in the city that had been a military base.

The ad running in Arizona features both Sinema and Kelly, who will be up for re-election in 2022 after winning a special election to serve out the remainder of late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainHouse Freedom Caucus chair weighs Arizona Senate bid Cindy McCain planning ‘intimate memoir’ of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors MORE’s (R-Ariz.) term. McCain’s seat was temporarily filled by the appointment of former Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyHouse Freedom Caucus chair weighs Arizona Senate bid New rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees The Seventeenth Amendment and the censure of Donald Trump MORE (R-Ariz.).

The Arizona ad highlights Becerra’s suit against the Trump administration challenging a proposed rule to expand religious exemptions for employers who do not want to pay for contraceptives through their insurance plans.

The lawsuit eventually pitted Becerra against Little Sisters of the Poor, a non-profit organization run by nuns, that joined the legal defense of the Trump administration’s rule.

“Becerra has zero medical experience unless you count suing Catholic nuns, trying to force them to pay for abortions,” the narrator says.

The ad also claims Becerra favored open borders during the pandemic.

Becerra told the HuffPost in April of 2019 that unauthorized immigration should be decriminalized.

“Our senators promised to protect Arizona and our country, here’s their chance. Vote no on Becerra,” the ad states. 

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: ‘I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying’ Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), who is viewed as a swing Republican vote, announced Wednesday morning he will oppose Becerra’s nomination.

“Xavier Becerra has a long history of backing policies that are outside of the American mainstream,” Toomey said in a statement.

He cited Becerra’s stances of government regulation of health care, partial birth abortion, religious liberty issues and business ownership of intellectual property.

“Throughout his confirmation hearings, Mr. Becerra was vague in answering most questions from Republican senators,” Toomey said. 

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