Raimondo says he won’t be Biden’s health secretary

Former surgeon Vivek Murthy, who was also considered one of HHS’s top candidates, is already planning to return to the general role of surgeon with a broader portfolio that includes leadership in the administration’s pandemic response.

As early as Monday, Biden planned to release a selection of health leaders that would include the election of the HHS secretary – a consequence of the cabinet’s position for an administration that is immediately facing a spiral coronavirus crisis.

The incoming administration has been deliberating for weeks on the work of the health secretary, hoping to find a candidate with both managerial experience to oversee the expanding department and the trust of an elected president who has put close ties to the forefront of high-level work. in the federal government.

Raimondo, 49, impressed the Biden team in the summer when he was checked in as a potential runner, two sources close to the transition said. It has been competing for several cabinet roles, including at HHS and the Treasury. He also boasts extensive experience in leading government bureaucracies, first as a treasurer of Rhode Island and in his current role as governor.

The news of Raimondo’s candidacy on Wednesday sparked immediate anger from progressive groups in the past as a venture capitalist and record in state government. As treasurer, Raimondo was at the forefront of legislation to reduce pensions in 2011, an effort fiercely opposed by unions. He has recently been criticized for granting a nursing home exemption for injuries and deaths to the population during the epidemic.

Raimondo is also facing a severe resurgence of Covid-19 cases in his state, which has forced him to launch a two-week “break” that will close certain businesses and provide limited indoor meals.

“The data is very worrying, there is no other way to tell it,” he said on Thursday. “This wave certainly seems a lot more dangerous than what we experienced in the spring.”

Raimondo received widespread praise at the beginning of the pandemic for his aggressive moves to step up testing and virus control. But his job has worn off in some corners in recent months after Raimondo called for schools to reopen before another sharp rise in cases.

As Raimondo withdrew from the debate, members of the Spanish Caucasus in Congress called on Biden’s senior officials to take another look at Lujan Grisham in a Thursday call.

Each MP based on the call supported him for the HHS Secretariat, citing government and domestic work on health care, according to the sources of the call. Biden officials spoke highly of Lujan Grisham and said members of the House of Representatives abandoned the belief that their efforts were well received.

MP Ben Ray Luján, who was elected to the Senate last month, also said members were disturbed by reports this week that Lujan Grisham would lose support for the transition after rejecting an offer for the Home Office secretariat, a source in the call said. . Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, agreed they were unacceptable and vowed to curb the leaks.

Later on Thursday, Lujan Grisham was elected president of the Association of Democratic Governors, which was seen as a formality and does not rule out joining Biden’s cabinet. He was the previous vice-president of the group of governors.

Tyler Pager and Laura Barrón-López contributed to the report.