https://www.dailywire.com/news/sen-ben-sasse-grills-biden-hhs-nominee-xavier-becerra-appears-to-trap-him-on-final-question

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) repeatedly pressed President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, on issues related to religious liberty and abortion during his Wednesday confirmation hearing.

“Mr. Becerra, you said a little while ago that you never sued the nuns, which is a pretty interesting way of reframing your bullying,” Sasse began. “You actually sued the federal government who had given an exemption to the nuns. Can you explain to us what the Little Sisters of the Poor were doing wrong?”

For the next few minutes, Sasse repeatedly had to repeat the question to Becerra because he repeatedly dodged it, claiming he was suing the federal government and not the nuns. Sasse pointed out he was evading the question.

“You say you didn’t sue the nuns, you sued the federal government that was keeping you from making sure that the nuns had to buy contraceptive insurance,” Sasse pressed. “Were the nuns gonna get pregnant?”

After another couple of minutes passed, Sasse grew increasingly frustrated with Becerra, noting that “for the fifth time, you did not answer the question.”

Sasse then asked about undercover videos that activists released in 2015 that he claimed depicted “former abortion industry employees” claiming “on camera that babies who survived abortions were left to die by Planned Parenthood staff in your state in clear violation of both state and federal law.”

“Instead of investigating these claims, you raided the houses of the filmmakers who brought these atrocities to light,” Sasse said. “Why did you do that?”

“Senator, again, I respect the way you framed it,” Becerra responded. “I would say to you that it’s clear that we have we look at it differently. California has privacy laws, and we enforce privacy laws. When we take action based on violation of privacy laws, it’s because we have evidence that the rights of Californians to their privacy has been violated. You’ve described it differently. But what I will say to you is my job is to follow the law and make sure others do as well.”

For his final question, Sasse asked about a case regarding when California poultry farms were secretly recorded in 2014 and 2015 showing inhumane treatment of animals.

“Did you investigate the filmmakers of the poultry farm filmings?” Sasse asked.

“In what years?” Becerra asked.

“2014 and 2015,” Sasse responded.

“Senator, I was not the attorney general then,” Becerra responded.

Becerra was also not the attorney general when the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were recorded in 2015.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): Thank you, Chairman. Mr. Becerra, you said a little while ago that you never sued the nuns, which is a pretty interesting way of reframing your bullying. You actually sued the federal government who had given an exemption to the nuns. Can you explain to us what the Little Sisters the poor, were doing wrong?

XAVIER BECERRA, BIDEN HHS NOMINEE: So senator, as I try to explain, my actions were against the federal government, it’s not the Little Sisters of the Poor, we never alleged that the Little Sisters of the Poor did anything wrong. Our problem was that the federal government was not abiding by the law, as we saw it. And what we did was we took action against the federal government. So California could administer its programs to make sure that the Affordable Care Act continued to work.

SASSE: What were the nuns doing that made it impossible for California to administer that program? That was just a complete nonsense answer. What were the nuns doing that it made it difficult for California to administer your program?

BECERRA: Well as I said, Senator, our action was against the federal government. It’s what —

SASSE: No, no. You continued and you said, so that California could administer your program. What did the nuns do that made it difficult for California to administer that program?

BECERRA: And Senator, what I’m trying to explain to you is that, we didn’t we were not looking at the actions of the Little Sisters or any other program, our actions were against the federal government, and the way it was applying the law as it existed to California.

SASSE: But what did the federal government do? It was about the nuns. This is nonsense, like what you’re saying isn’t true. You say you didn’t sue the nuns, you sued the federal government that was keeping you from making sure that the nuns had to buy contraceptive insurance. Were the nuns gonna get pregnant?

BECERRA: Senator, the actions of a state of California, and I was defending the actions of our state and the laws that were in place, the federal government took actions to change the way that we would administer the programs that we had under the Affordable Care Act. Our actions related to how providers are providing services to the people of California. When the federal government took action that we thought was unlawful. We took action to protect the people of California.

SASSE: So again, a whole bunch of words. But you know, well, you’re incredibly smart man, you know, well, that what the federal government did was make sure that you couldn’t target the nuns. So you sued the federal government, because the federal government said, the nuns didn’t have to buy contraceptive insurance. You can put 17 layers of, you were following the law to go after the federal government for administering the program or doing X or doing Y that made it difficult for you to for California to administer the program. But it was just about nuns buying contraceptive coverage. Was there something else the federal government did that you were suing them for when when in the case called California versus Little Sisters of the Poor?

BECERRA: Senator the the case was not again, that was not the name of the case. And what I will tell you is that our actions were based on trying to follow the law that when the federal government took action, which we believe did not comport with the law. At that point, we took action. And our action was based on the law and so as I’ve said, we may disagree on how we see this. And I respect the differences that we may have. But my action was to follow the law.

SASSE: What about the law, as the federal government’s conscience exemptions applied, in the case where you sued the federal government? What about the law applied to anybody except the nuns and other similarly situated religious institutions? You were targeting religious liberty.

BECERRA: Sir, let me see if I can try to answer. The Affordable Care Act, it tries to make sure that we are providing health care to all Americans. And we have to make sure that we provide the services that Americans are entitled to receive. We tried to make sure that in California, under the Affordable Care Act, every Californian receives the benefits they’re entitled to under the that act. And so when we saw that federal government was taking actions, which might abridge those rights–

SASSE: And so I’m going to ask the question again, you said the federal government taking actions, this is the third time you haven’t answered, were any of those actions about anything except nuns and religious liberty? Was the federal government taking other actions that you were suing about in that case? Or was it just because you wanted to target the nuns and religious liberty?

BECERRA: Senator, again, I respect the way you view it, but from the–

SASSE: Because it’s actually what happened.

BECERRA: Senator I, again, I understand that we may view it differently, but I was trying to protect access to care.

SASSE: I’m giving you the chance to explain what you think it was about if it wasn’t this, and you’ve not yet explained to any party except ‘the law is administered by the federal government,’ but it was about the nuns.

BECERRA: Senator, I’ll try once again to explain. Californian’s are entitled under the Affordable Care Act to access care.

SASSE: And the nuns were keeping them from getting care how?

BECERRA: The federal government was changing the–

SASSE: To make sure the religious liberty rights of the nuns were protected. Was there anything else the federal government was doing except making sure the nuns had religious liberty?

BECERRA: Senator, I respect the difference–

SASSE: For the fifth time, you did not answer the question. I’ve asked you for any party besides the nuns and you’ve just said you respected the diversity of opinions but I’m going to move on to another question. Former abortion industry employees, employees from your state have claimed on camera that babies who survived abortions were left to die by Planned Parenthood staff in your state in clear violation of both state and federal law. Instead of investigating these claims, you raided the houses of the filmmakers who brought these atrocities to light. Why did you do that?

BECERRA: Senator, again, I respect the way you framed it. I would say to you that it’s clear that we have we look at it differently. California has privacy laws, and we enforce privacy laws. When we take action based on violation of privacy laws, it’s because we have evidence that the rights of Californians to their privacy has been violated. You’ve described it differently. But what I will say to you is my job is to follow the law and make sure others do as well. 

SASSE: So, I think what you’re saying is the baby body parts weren’t interesting, but the filming of it was? But in 2014 and 2015, that California poultry farms–

SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): The senator from Nebraska is over his time and his colleague, Senator Barrasso is next and two others–

SASSE: Can I ask my colleague if he minds if I go for 45 seconds?

WYDEN: Sure. 45 seconds and that’s it.

SASSE: Thank you, chairman. In 2014 and 2015, California poultry farms were recorded secretly showing inhumane treatment of animals in California. Did you investigate the filmmakers of the poultry farm filmings?

BECERRA: In what years?

SASSE: 2014 and 2015. 

BECERRA: Senator, I was not the attorney general then.

SASSE: And–

WYDEN: The time of the gentlemen’s expired.

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