Biden considers Haaland, Udall for interior secretary

Prior to taking office on January 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden (D) and his team must prepare for the transition between presidential administrations, including selecting senior White House staff and appointees to top government positions.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. The new administration is also responsible for filling thousands of other positions across the federal government, including in operations and policy. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.


  • Biden won 306 electoral votes when Electoral College members met in each state and Washington, D.C., on Monday. President Donald Trump (R) received 232 votes. There were no faithless electors. Congress will count the electoral votes in a joint session on January 6, 2021, and declare a winner—subject to any objections to an individual state’s electoral votes.
  • Biden is campaigning in Atlanta on Tuesday to support the Democratic candidates—Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock—in two runoff elections for Senate in Georgia. Following the general election in November, Republicans have 50 Senate seats to Democrats’ 48. To learn more about the runoff elections and the fight for Senate control, sign up for the Runoff Report.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he did not believe a Republican-controlled Senate would confirm Sally Yates for U.S. attorney general. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also questioned her chances. Biden has not yet announced his nominee for the position.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Monday that he was not interested in serving as U.S. attorney general.
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s pick for secretary of homeland security, is receiving letters of support from the following law enforcement groups: Major County Sheriffs of America, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, the National Fusion Center Association, and the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition.
  • Biden is expected to name his picks for secretary of the interior and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency as early as this week. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and former deputy Interior Secretary Michael Connor are in consideration for interior secretary, according to The Wall Street Journal

Transition in Context

What We’re Reading

Washington Monthly: Why Biden Might Not Need McConnell’s Permission