As the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday deadlocked along party lines on whether to advance the nomination of Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, a new analysis shows that the 14 Republican members of the panel have taken $36.1 million from the health sector, including $9.6 million from Big Pharma — a fact that progressives say explains the GOP’s opposition to President Joe Biden’s Cabinet pick, a supporter of Medicare for All.


Becerra has pledged to expand healthcare access and lower drug prices. According to Accountable.US, the opposition to Becerra by Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee—who “have oversight of the very same industries that have bankrolled their campaigns with millions of dollars” — reflects “an effort to appease their Big Pharma donors.” 

The watchdog group highlighted the following GOP lawmakers’ conflicts of interest:

  • Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Id.) “has accepted over $1.8 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $616,000 from Big Pharma. Crapo also raked in contributions from the healthcare and financial sectors as he was poised to become the Committee chairman at the end of last year,” according to Accountable’s report.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) “has accepted over $3.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including nearly $1 million from Big Pharma.”
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) “has accepted over $1.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $1 million from Big Pharma. Cornyn said the quiet part out loud when he brought up concerns with Becerra’s lack of ties to the pharmaceutical industry, implicitly admitting he’d prefer a nominee in the pocket of Big Pharma.”
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) “has accepted over $4.8 million from the health sector throughout his career, including $1.5 million from Big Pharma.”
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) “has accepted over $5.1 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $736,000 from Big Pharma.”
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) “has accepted over $2.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $651,000 from Big Pharma.”