Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Biden Cabinet Nominations Near Conclusion

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Nominations for President Biden’s advisory council have almost finished as his administration gets underway

President Joe Biden (Imago Images/Margus Ansu)

President Joe Biden is on the cusp of filling out his administration’s cabinet. After having many March confirmations made of his cabinet secretary positions, the president’s top advisory committee is on track to be completed in the very near future.

At the time of this article’s writing, 18 of President Biden’s cabinet nominees have been confirmed by the Senate, with three left to go. All three of Biden’s nominations for his remaining cabinet positions, including Secretary of Labor, Director of the Office of Science and Technology, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget are projected to have sufficient votes for confirmation

The confirmation process was sluggish at the outset of Biden’s presidency. Preoccupied by the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump and the passage of nearly $2 trillion for the COVID-19 relief bill, Biden’s pace of cabinet member confirmations lagged behind that of prior presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama. However, with the impeachment trial over and their landmark coronavirus relief bill passed, President Biden and the senate have been able to turn their attention squarely to cabinet confirmations. Now, the senate is on pace to reach those met at the start of the Obama and Trump administrations.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer Has Been a Key Ally for Joe Biden in his Push to Confirm his Cabinet  (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

Despite Democratic control of the senate, Democratic President Joe Biden’s nominations have faced intermittent jeopardy. Biden’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, was confirmed by a razor-thin 50-49 vote, with every senate Democrat voting to confirm him. Meanwhile, his pick to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration following opposition to her nomination from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) and centrist Republicans.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra (Greg Nash)

Tanden’s experience highlights the fragility of Democratic control over the Senate, in which it controls half its seats along with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker. In order for President Biden to confirm all of his nominations under these conditions, the Democrats must be completely united in support of his choices or hope for moderate Republicans to go across the aisle to lend their support.

Despite these hiccups, Biden’s cabinet picks have generally been confirmed with ease. Each of his nominations has enjoyed bipartisan confirmation votes and Democratic opposition to the president’s choices has been slim. 

Once President Biden’s cabinet is complete, he will be able to turn his attention fully towards advancing his ambitious foreign and domestic agenda. From repairing relations with NATO allies to revamping American infrastructure, Biden will need every one of his Cabinet members’ help to promote his desired policies for the country.