January 13, 2021

Cortez Masto Meets with HHS Nominee Xavier Becerra

Becerra Meeting

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) met with Xavier Becerra, the current Attorney General of California and President-elect Biden’s nominee to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Attorney General Becerra’s nomination will come before the Senate Finance Committee, of which Senator Cortez Masto is a member. 

“With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting communities of color, HHS will play a vital role in ensuring we have an equitable plan for distributing vaccine and resources. In my discussion with Attorney General Becerra, we talked about the need to protect affordable health care, including expanding mental health resources, strengthening the Indian Health Service, and building our health care provider workforce in Nevada’s rural and disadvantaged communities. I will continue to review Attorney General Becerra’s record and advocate for Nevada’s priorities with the incoming administration.”

BACKGROUND: 

Senator Cortez Masto has long prioritized improving mental health services for Nevadans. She has worked to expand behavioral health crisis services and peer support resources, especially as communities across the U.S. face the twin public health and economic crises of COVID-19. The Senator has introduced the following legislation:

  • The Behavioral Health Crisis Services Expansion Act, which directs HHS to define standards for a continuum of behavioral health crisis services including regional call centers, mobile crisis teams, and inpatient treatment. The bill also expands coverage of those services and provides additional funding to states through the mental health block grant to scale up services. 
  • The Virtual Peer Support Act, which would provide grants to organizations that host peer support services for groups including front line health workers, veterans, and those suffering from substance use disorder. The grant would enable these organizations to build out virtual capacity so they can continue to serve people through the pandemic, as well as make these services more accessible in the aftermath.

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