January 4, 2021: Twelve Republican senators have announced they plan to challenge the certification of electoral votes from certain states on Wednesday.
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.
- Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, said on Wednesday that Biden will make more Cabinet announcements this week.
- The Biden Transition announced additional White House staff appointments on Wednesday, including special assistants to the president and legislative affairs personnel. The transition team said in a statement that 100 White House staff appointments had been made before the end of the year.
- The Biden Transition said on Wednesday that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was not fully cooperating with the transition. “OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to COVID-related expenditures and critical gaps,” transition executive director Yohannes Abraham said.
- OMB Director Russell Vought responded in a letter on Thursday, “As the record shows, OMB has fully participated in appropriate transition efforts. What we have not done and will not do is use current OMB staff to write the [Biden Transition Team’s] legislative policy proposals to dismantle this Administration’s work. OMB staff are working on this Administration’s policies and will do so until this Administration’s final day in office.”
- Eleven Republican senators—Ted Cruz (Texas), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Kennedy (La.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.)—announced on Saturday that they will challenge electors from several states due to allegations of election fraud. They did not specify which states. Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) previously announced his objection.
- Vice President Mike Pence (R) will oversee the certification of the electoral votes on January 6. His chief of staff, Marc Short, said in a statement, “The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”
- The Office of Government Ethics released financial disclosure statements from Cabinet nominees Janet Yellen, Antony Blinken, and Avril Haines.
Transition in Context
Biden has yet to announce nominees for five Cabinet-level positions. With the exception of the director of the CIA, both Presidents Donald Trump (R) and Barack Obama (D) had announced nominees for these positions at this point in their transitions.