Dec 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Hispanic lawmakers press Biden to name Becerra or Perez for attorney general

Xavier Becerra
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Hispanic lawmakers are increasing their demands on Joe Biden, pressing him to name either California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or DNC chair Tom Perez to lead the Justice Department.

The big picture: Interest groups in the Democratic Party are engaged in dueling campaigns for a finite number of top Cabinet posts.

  • On Sunday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus fired their first shot across Biden's bow, calling on him to name New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for Health and Human Services.
  • And civil rights groups want a meeting about Black appointees, the Washington Post reported last night. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus were first in a public campaign for a top-tier Cabinet post.
  • Meanwhile, women in the national security community are growing increasingly concerned that Michele Flournoy could be bypassed as the the first female defense secretary because Biden may want to appoint a Black candidate at the Pentagon.

Why it matters: Member of the CHC have secured a meeting tomorrow with incoming chief of staff Ron Klain and transition officials Jeff Zients and Ted Kaufman to air their concerns.

  • The meetings is expected to be tense, as many Hispanic lawmakers feel that that Biden transition is giving lip service to their community and isn't taking their demands seriously.

What they are saying: Today's letter, singed by 32 CHC members makes a straightforward case for Becerra and Perez, based on their career credentials and life experiences.

  • "Both Secretary Perez and Attorney General Becerra are experienced in the criminal and civil rights issues at the heart of the Justice Department’s work and have proven track records of using their powers of office to level the playing field for workers and middle-class families."

Between the lines: Lujan Grisham turned down an offer to be Interior Secretary, according to a source close to the transition.

  • While CNN is reporting that she has emerged as a "leading contender" for HHS, the source close to the transition said that is currently not the case.

Be smart: Piecing together the diversity puzzle of Biden's Cabinet was always going to be a challenge, but it's getting harder as the spots diminish and the lobbying becomes more public.

Read the letter.

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