Haines confirmation hearing set for Friday

January 14, 2021: The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Avril Haines, Biden’s nominee for director of intelligence, on Friday. 

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 2020, there were 1,472 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,118 positions required Senate confirmation and 354 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 tr


  • Biden announced additional appointees to the Domestic Policy Council, Office of Domestic Climate Policy, The White House Council on Environmental Quality, National Economic Council, and the Presidential Personnel Office on Thursday.
  • Biden also announced more appointees to the National Security Council on Wednesday, including Ann Neuberger in a new cybersecurity-focused position on the council.
  • Due to security concerns, Biden will no longer take the Amtrak from Delaware to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration.
  • Google is pausing ads across its channels, including YouTube, that reference impeachment, inauguration, or protests at the Capitol. “We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, ‘sensitive’ events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information,” Google said in a statement.

Transition in Context: Senate Committees and the Confirmation Process

Nominations for Cabinet secretaries and other appointments requiring Senate confirmation are reviewed by committees before going to the floor for a full vote. Committees investigate nominees, hold hearings, and take a majority vote on whether to report the candidate to the Senate favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation.

Different committees have jurisdiction over different positions. For example, the Senate Intelligence Committee will review nominees for CIA and national intelligence leadership, while the Energy and National Resources Committee will preside over nominations to the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

For a complete list of the jurisdiction of each Senate committee, click here.

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