February 4 Update: Tracking Biden’s cabinet appointments

by | Jan 26, 2021 | Biden Administration, Policy

Getting cabinet picks confirmed is one of the first things any president wants to get done, and it is especially critical for President Biden as he faces some of the toughest challenges of any incoming president. Here’s a list of Biden’s cabinet picks and their confirmation status. We’ll be updating this list regularly as the Senate votes on more confirmations.  

Confirmed

Avril Haines – Director of National Intelligence 

The first of Biden’s cabinet to be confirmed, Avril Haines is the first female Director of National Intelligence. Haines previously served as Deputy Director of the CIA and Deputy National Security Adviser during the Obama administration. Haines also worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when then-Senator Joe Biden was chair. The Senate voted 84-10 to confirm her. 

Lloyd Austin – Secretary of Defense

Gen. Lloyd Austin made history as the first African American Secretary of Defense after being confirmed by the Senate in a 93-2 vote. Austin is a retired four star general who previously commanded CENTCOM. Since Austin left active duty four years ago, his nomination required a waiver from Congress due to a law requiring that the Secretary of Defense be a civilian for at least seven years before taking the job. 

Janet Yellen – Secretary of the Treasury

Confirmed by the Senate in a 84-15 vote, Janet Yellen is now the first woman to be Treasury Secretary. Yellen already made history as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve during the Obama administration.

Antony Blinken – Secretary of State

Confirmed in a 78-22 vote, Antony Blinken previously served as Deputy Secretary of State during the Obama administration and National Security Adviser to then-Vice President Biden. Blinken comes from a family of diplomats (his dad and uncle were ambassadors) and is fluent in French. 

Pete Buttigieg – Secretary of Transportation 

The former mayor of South Bend and a dark horse presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Pete Buttigieg is already a well-known figure in American politics. Confirmed by the Senate 86-13, Buttigieg is the first openly LGBTQ cabinet secretary. 

Alejandro Mayorkas – Secretary of Homeland Security 

Born in Cuba, Alejandro Mayorkas is the first immigrant and first Latino Secretary of Homeland Security. Mayorkas served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama administration. His confirmation vote was 56-43, a much slimmer margin than other Biden nominees. 

Unconfirmed 

Merrick Garland – Attorney General

A federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Merrick Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. His nomination was famously blocked by Mitch McConnell. Garland also prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombers. 

Deb Haaland – Secretary of the Interior 

If confirmed, Deb Haaland would be the first Native American cabinet secretary. Haaland also became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018, representing New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland’s duties would include overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

Marcia Fudge – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Marcia Fudge currently represents Ohio’s 11th congressional district. Prior to running for Congress, Fudge made history as the first woman and first African American to be elected mayor of Warren Heights, Ohio.  

Jennifer Granholm – Secretary of Energy 

Jennifer Granholm was the first woman elected governor of Michigan, as well as Michigan’s first female attorney general. Granholm’s name was twice mentioned as a possible Energy Secretary during the Obama administration.  

Miguel Cardona – Secretary of Education

Miguel Cardona currently serves as Commissioner of Education for the state of Connecticut. Cardona started his career as a fourth grade teacher, so his nomination fulfills Biden’s campaign pledge to pick a former teacher to be Secretary of Education. 

Denis McDonough – Secretary of Veterans Affairs 

Denis McDonough was Obama’s White House Chief of Staff and Deputy National Security Adviser. Mdonough also chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee.

Marty Walsh – Secretary of Labor 

The current mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh is also a longtime Union member. Walsh joined the Laborer’s Union at the age of 21, later becoming the head of Laborers Local 223 and the Boston Building Trades. 

Xavier Becerra – Secretary of Health and Human Services 

If confirmed, Xavier Becerra would be the first Latino Secretary of Health and Human Services. Becerra is currently California’s attorney general, the first Latino to hold that position as well. Becerra also served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017.

Tom Vilsack – Secretary of Agriculture

Tom Vilsack was Secretary of Agriculture through both of Obama’s terms. Previously, Vilsack was the governor of Iowa, the first Democrat elected to that office in 30 years. 

Gina Raimondo – Secretary of Commerce

Gina Raimondo is currently the governor of Rhode Island, the first woman elected to that office. Raimondo previously served as the state’s general treasurer and co-founded Rhode Island’s first venture capital firm. 

Photo: Public Domain Textures / Wikimedia Commons

Editorial Assistant/Staff Writer | + posts

William serves as a staff writer and editorial assistant at the Texas Signal, where he edits and posts articles and writes on topics ranging from national security to Louie Gohmert's plan to alter the orbit of planets. William has worked on Democratic campaigns in Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina and is an internet meme expert.

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