President-elect Joe Biden announces nominations to Cabinet, administration posts
How do you feel about Biden’s nominations?
By Eric Revell, Countable News
- President-elect Joe Biden has begun announcing nominations to posts in his administration. Some appointees will take office on Inauguration Day, while others will have their nominations formally submitted to begin the Senate confirmation process.
- It’s currently unclear which party will control the Senate, as a pair of runoffs for the Georgia Senate seats will be held on January 5th to determine whether Republicans will retain their majority or if Democrats will control the floor by virtue of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.
- While all of the nominees submitted by the incoming Biden administration would likely be confirmed by Democratic Senate, some may have their nominations imperiled by a GOP majority. With the caveat that these nominations are subject to change, here’s what you need to know about the nominees Biden has picked so far.
- Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has been chosen to lead the Dept. of the Treasury. Yellen was the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve, a role she served in from 2014 to 2018 after she spent four years as the vice chair of the Fed’s Board of Governors.
- If confirmed, she would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Dept., and would also have the distinction of becoming the first person to have served as Secretary of the Treasury, chair the Fed’s Board of Governors, and chair the Council of Economic Advisers ― a role she held during the Clinton administration.
- Yellen received some bipartisan support when she was confirmed as Fed chair in 2014 with unanimous support from Democrats and several Republican votes, including from Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Director of the Office of Management & Budget (OMB)
- Neera Tanden currently serves as the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and has been tapped to lead the OMB. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian American to lead the agency.
- OMB is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President. Its responsibilities include producing the president’s budget request, in addition to examining federal programs, policies, and procedures.
- Tanden is likely to face scrutiny from both sides of the aisle during her confirmation process. Republicans take issue with the liberal bent of her policy preferences and her disparagement of GOP senators on social media, while some Democrats have expressed unease with her handling of sexual assault allegations at the Center for American Progress and Tanden’s critical tweets about supporters of progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN POLICY
Secretary of State
- Antony Blinken served as deputy secretary of state, the nation’s second highest ranking diplomat, from 2015-2017 after he previously served as principal deputy national security advisor to President Barack Obama.
- Blinken also worked in the Clinton administration as a National Security Council staffer from 1994-2001, and as the Democratic staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002 to 2008.
- The secretary of state is fourth in the line of succession to the presidency behind the vice president, the speaker of the House, and the Senate’s president pro tempore.
- Blinken was confirmed as deputy secretary of state in 2014 on a mostly party-line vote, and the only two Republicans who voted in favor of his confirmation have since retired.
Secretary of Homeland Security
- Alejandro Mayorkas is a former law enforcement official who served in the Obama administration as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009-2013 and deputy secretary of homeland security from 2013-2016.
- During his time at the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), Mayorkas implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, led the agency’s response to Ebola and Zika, and created a Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate to improve the integrity of the legal immigration system.
- If confirmed, Mayorkas would become the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead DHS. Mayorkas was confirmed as deputy DHS secretary in late 2013 on a party-line vote, and it’s unclear whether Republicans will oppose his nomination again.
Director of National Intelligence
- Avril Haines served in several roles during the Obama administration, including as the principal deputy national security adviser and the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
- Haines was the first woman to serve in both of those roles, and would become the first woman to serve as DNI.
- The DNI role was established in 2005 to provide a single leader for America’s 17-member Intelligence Community, and is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Ambassador to the United Nations
- Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a former diplomat who retired from the foreign service at the conclusion of the Obama administration to work for a global business strategy firm. Her 35 year diplomatic career took her to four continents, including diplomatic posts in Liberia, Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.
- Thomas-Greenfield would be the second Black woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, following in the footsteps of Susan Rice, who served in the role during the Obama administration.
- Like other ambassadorships, this role is subject to Senate’s advice and consent. Thomas-Greenfield hasn’t held a position subject to Senate confirmation in the past, although it’s unclear whether there will be any objections to her nomination.
National Security Adviser
- Jake Sullivan served as National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden during the Obama administration. He had previously served in the Obama administration as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and as director of the Policy Planning Staff (the State Dept.’s internal think tank).
- Biden’s announcement credited Sullivan as “a lead negotiator in the initial talks that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal” and for playing a key role in the 2012 Gaza ceasefire.
- The national security adviser role isn’t subject to the Senate’s advice and consent.
Special Presidential Envoy on Climate
- Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1985 to 2013 representing Massachusetts as a Democrat, has been chosen to serve in the role popularly known as the “energy czar” when the office was last occupied during the first two years of the Obama administration.
- Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, when he was defeated by President George W. Bush.
- The role isn’t subject to Senate confirmation, although Kerry was confirmed 94-3 to serve as the secretary of state during the Obama administration, so his former colleagues likely would’ve confirmed him easily once again.
This post may be updated as additional nominations are announced. The most recent nominations appear at the top.
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