COVID is smashing records and HHS Secretary Becerra is missing in action

Americans haven't seen Becerra at a single White House COVID briefing

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This week as President Biden seemed to abandon all pretense of having a plan to address COVID-19, some are wondering whether a Silver Alert needs to be issued for Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Americans haven't seen Becerra at a single White House COVID briefing. They haven't seen him at NIH events. Unlike his predecessor Alex Azar, he doesn't hold regular press briefings or take questions.  

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He seems to be absent from the biggest public health crises of our time, leading some to ask if he, like Secretary Pete Buttigieg, went on paternity leave, too?  

Congresswoman Kat Cammack, R-Fla., pointed out this week that on the major issues we have been facing as Americans, the HHS secretary has been MIA. 

As Americans bemoan the inaccessibility of testing for COVID, the restrictions on monoclonal antibody treatments, the risk of infection from untested border crossers, and the surge in deadly fentanyl crossing our now open borders, Becerra has offered no solutions.

As Americans bemoan the inaccessibility of testing for COVID, the restrictions on monoclonal antibody treatments, the risk of infection from untested border crossers, and the surge in deadly fentanyl crossing our now open borders, Becerra has offered no solutions.

"This has definitely turned into a game of Where’s Waldo?" Cammack explained when I interviewed her for "The Ingraham Angle." "No one seems to be able to find him on, really, any of the issues that he has full jurisdiction over."

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So what is Becerra doing? Two weeks ago NBC News asked the White House whether Becerra had even been invited to a December event with President Biden at the National Institute of Health (NIH).  

Instead of answering the question, White House spokesman Chris Meagher explained,

"Secretary Becerra is leading an agency handling some of the most critical issues our country is facing today, including tackling reproductive freedom, fighting to lower prescription drug prices and expanding access to high quality, affordable health care."

Translation: Becerra is too busy playing politics to be bothered with a global pandemic. The COVID response, the fentanyl problem, and the health of unaccompanied minors on the border don't even make the White House list of top three things the HHS secretary is working on. Instead, it's abortion and government takeover of health care.

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Becerra had been confirmed to his cabinet position for almost eight months before he made his first visit to the NIH.

What little we do see of Becerra involves deeply divisive issues for which the Biden administration has no broad mandate.  

This past week, if you looked really hard, you could find mention of Becerra promoting a new rule forcing religious health care workers to perform abortions and gender transition surgeries.  

He seems to care about Medicaid expansion, growing ObamaCare, and punishing pharmaceutical companies (but not drug traffickers) who distributed opioids. 

We didn't need more evidence that the Biden administration is not serious about COVID-19. We know Joe Biden made promises in order to win an election. But it should have been obvious immediately when he called on an attorney to run public health that efforts to solve the problems created by the pandemic were not going to be led by our nation’s best health care professionals. 

Becerra has no background in medicine or health care. But he filed 107 lawsuits to overturn Trump administration policies on everything from abortion to ObamaCare, and LGBT rights to gun violence. And it probably didn't hurt that the administration could brag he was the first Latino Health and Human Services secretary.   

Meanwhile, on the biggest health care issues of our time, he is invisible. HHS is responsible for the unaccompanied minors on the border. Has he even been to the border since becoming the secretary? Does he even know what's going on?  

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What of our massive testing kit shortage – where was Becerra months ago when the administration should have been stocking up on at-home test kits? Instead, it's being coordinated by the White House political operation, despite having a Senate-confirmed cabinet official in place.

All of this underscores the very unserious approach the Biden administration has taken to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of making available treatments that could save lives, facilitating broader testing, or addressing the potential spread of disease among unaccompanied minors on the border, they're focused on growing government and pressing their dwindling political advantage.

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