Manchin poised to deliver crucial support for controversial Becerra nomination

Centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is expected to cast a crucial vote in favor of advancing the nomination of Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services, clearing his path to confirmation.

Manchin had resisted publicly disclosing whether he will support Becerra, whose nomination deadlocked in the Senate Finance Committee last week after receiving zero support from Republican lawmakers.

Conservative anti-abortion groups have mounted pressure on Manchin to oppose the nomination, citing Becerra’s record of supporting single-payer healthcare and access to abortions. As California attorney general for four years, Becerra has earned a reputation among Republicans as a liberal culture warrior, having filed over 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration, including some aimed at strengthening Obamacare and mandating religious groups provide contraception for their employees.

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