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Xavier Becerra Becerra was known in California for efforts to create a government-run, single-payer health care system. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg)

Members of the Senate voted 50-49 Thursday to confirm Xavier Becerra as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Becerra will oversee a department that regulates activities that account for more than $4 trillion in annual U.S. spending and about 18% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

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