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Michelle Lujan Grisham arriving on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Hispanic lawmakers are openly lobbying to have New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham be named Health and Human Services secretary, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: These members are now following the example some Black lawmakers have used for weeks: trying to convince Joe Biden his political interests will be served by rewarding certain demographic groups with Cabinet picks.

The big picture: Biden is weighing Lujan Grisham, who he considered as his vice presidential running mate, along with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for the critical post.

  • The next HHS secretary will not only have to tackle the coronavirus crisis but reconfigure the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration has attempted to dismantle.

The case: In their letter to Biden, 32 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus say nominating Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security was a "good start" — but they believe the country deserves more.

  • "Latinos constitute 18 percent of the U.S. population and the diversity of the Latino population in itself is incredibly varied, with Mexican-Americans making up 62.3 percent of the total Latino population," the letter says.   
  • "We write to restate our strong support for the first Democratic Hispanic woman elected state governor in U.S. history."
  • Lujan Grisham was a chairperson of the caucus while serving in the House from 2013 to 2019. While the letter is not a CHC document, the signers are members of the group.

Between the lines: Mayorkas is of Cuban extraction, and most of the letter signers, as well as Lujan Grisham, are of Mexican American descent. Cuban communities supported Trump, especially in south Florida, while other Hispanic demographics helped Biden win crucial states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden finalizes full slate of Cabinet secretaries

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden has officially finalized his picks for Cabinet secretaries, naming 10 men and 5 women to lead federal agencies in an administration he has pledged will "look like America."

Driving the news: Biden filled out his Cabinet on Thursday by nominating Judge Merrick Garland to be attorney general, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to lead the Labor Department.

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 9 mins ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.