President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, according to people familiar with the decision, selecting a legal advocate who has waged battles to preserve the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Becerra led a coalition of 20 states and Washington, D.C., in a legal defense of the ACA after Republican-led states brought a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Obama-era health law. The U.S. Supreme Court last month heard arguments in the case. The Trump administration has asked the court to strike down swaths of the ACA.
Mr. Becerra, 62 years old, served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017. A spokeswoman for Mr. Becerra didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
A spokesman for the Biden transition team declined to comment.
The nominee will play a pivotal role in driving Mr. Biden’s health agenda and helping to shape the new administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The HHS secretary oversees the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.