Between a slow transition thanks to the feet dragging of the previous administration, the second impeachment trial, and then the negotiations to get the American Rescue Plan (COVID relief bill) passed — (pausing to celebrate that achievement!!!) — the Senate has gotten fairly behind getting all of President Biden’s Cabinet positions confirmed.
Normally, a month into a President’s first term, the average is to have about 84% of the Cabinet confirmed. (source) But with Biden, we’ve only seen 13 out of the 23 confirmed, which is only 56%. That said, his Cabinet is already shaping up to be the most diverse in our nation’s history.
Avril Haines – Director of National Intelligence
Lloyd Austin – Secretary of Defense
Janet Yellen – Secretary of the Treasury
Antony Blinken – Secretary of State
Alejandro Mayorkas – Secretary of Homeland Security
Pete Buttigieg – Secretary of Transportation
Denis McDonough – Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Tom Vilsack – Secretary of Agriculture
Linda Thomas-Greenfield – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Jennifer Granholm – Secretary of Energy
Miguel Cardona – Secretary of Education
Cecilia Rouse – Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors
Gina Raimondo – Secretary of Commerce
Approved in Committee – Awaiting Senate Vote
Marcia Fudge – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Approved on 2/4
Michael S. Regan – Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Approved on 2/9
Marty Walsh – Secretary of Labor – Approved on 2/11
Isabel Guzman – Administrator of the Small Business Administration – Approved on 2/24
Merrick Garland – Attorney General – Approved on 3/1
Deb Haaland – Secretary of the Interior – Approved on 3/4
Not Yet Approved in Committee
Xavier Becerra – Secretary of Health and Human Services
Eric Lander – Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Katherine Tai – United States Trade Representative
(Formerly Neera Tanden, who has withdrawn from consideration) – Director of the Office of Management and Budget
I found it interesting to see which Republicans are being the most obstructionist. I’m sure you’ll find it not surprising at all to learn that Josh Hawley takes the prize for voting against the most number of Biden’s nominees. He’s voted against 12 of 13. Ted Cruz and Rick Scott have voted against 11 of 13, and Tom Cotton has voted against 10 of 13. (source)
Did you know that the Democratic Senators who voted against the most number of Trump’s nominees eventually ran for President? Something to ponder.
Also, another fact that jumped out at me. You know which Republican Senator has voted against the fewest of Biden’s nominees? Mitch McConnell, with only 1 “no” vote.
What We Can Do
It’s important that we are all calling on our Senators — no matter what party — to tell them that we want them to confirm Biden’s nominees as soon as possible. Feel free to call about any of the nominees who are just waiting for Senate confirmation.
I’m getting really concerned about the delay with Xavier Becerra’s confirmation — I mean, we’re in the middle of the pandemic and we could sure use a Secretary of Health and Human Services! There have already been several delays and “objections” that Republicans have had with some of Biden’s nominees, and they seem to fit a pattern — i.e. they are all non-white — and Becerra’s nomination seems to be the latest one. So I urge you to call about his nomination and urge your Senators to push on their colleagues on the Finance Committee to approve his nomination and take it up in the Senate asap.
Thanks for taking action!