One Nation Under Debt

Published — August 11, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Xavier Becerra has voted repeatedly to protect Social Security, Medicare

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi named Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., to bipartisan debt "super committee."


Now in his ninth term, Rep. Xavier Becerra is confident enough to have cast a couple of high-profile “no” votes lately.

The most recent was on Aug. 1 when the California Democrat refused to support the bill that raised the debt ceiling, saying it failed to address “the main drivers of our deficits: the Bush tax cuts, and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it does nothing to fix the biggest deficit holding our economy back: the jobs deficit.”

He was also a member of the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission, created by President Obama in 2010. Becerra voted against the commission’s recommendations, firmly from the left.

A major question for the Super Congress is the degree to which Democrats will yield on entitlement cuts. Becerra serves as the ranking member on the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee. After his no vote on the debt ceiling bill, he announced, “We owe it to those who built this country to protect Medicare and Social Security from being blindsided by future indiscriminate cuts.”

He is much younger than other Ways and Means committee members with more seniority, positioning him for potential chairmanship in the future. Apart from his powerful committee and commission appointments, he serves in the House leadership as vice chair of the Democratic Caucus.

Becerra’s California district includes the heart of Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium. According to the 2010 Almanac of American Politics, the 2000 census ranked Becerra’s district “first in the nation with its noncitizens (41 percent) and last in the nation in homes where English is spoken (21 percent). In 2007, 52 percent of its residents were foreign-born.” In 2008, 80 percent of his district voted for Obama.

Becerra’s mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and came to the United States after marrying his father. Becerra was the first member of his family to go to college, earning bachelor’s and law degrees from Stanford University.

Before coming to Congress, Becerra put in one term in the California legislature. He is a former Deputy Attorney General for California. In 2001, he lost the Democratic primary for the Los Angeles mayor’s race.

Top Contributors

  • New York Life Insurance Company, the nation’s oldest mutual life insurer — at least $35,000
  • American College of Radiology, a trade association for radiologists and other medical professionals — at least $28,500
  • American Physical Therapy Association, trade association for physical therapists — at least $27,500
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists, trade association for that field — at least $27,000
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a labor union — at least $25,000
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., the makers of Budweiser beer — at least $25,000
  • PACs gave at least $1.5 million to Becerra’s campaign account and his Leadership of Today and Tomorrow leadership PAC since the start of 2009

Revolving Door

  • Francis Grab, a former tax legislative assistant to Becerra, is now at Ernst & Young, where he lobbies for clients including the American Staffing Association, New York Life Insurance Company, and the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association
  • Arshi Siddiqui, a former Ways & Means counsel to Becerra, is now at Akin Gump Strauss Harder & Feld LLP, where she lobbies for clients including American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Honeywell International, and the NASDAQ OMX Group Inc.

Statement on Super Congress

  • In a statement, Becerra said “I look forward to working with my 11 colleagues to present to the people of our country an American solution to this challenge. Working in a bipartisan fashion without damaging pre-conditions will guarantee the greatest chance of success.”

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