January 19, 2021: Joe Biden named Eric Lander presidential science advisor and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and made the position Cabinet-rank.
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 transition.
Appointments and Nominations
Eric Lander, presidential science advisor and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Biden announced on Saturday that he had selected geneticist Eric Lander as his presidential science advisor and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Biden also said that he was elevating this position to be Cabinet-rank.
Lander is the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a biomedical and genomic research center. He is also a professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. During the Obama administration, he was the co-chair of the presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
On Monday, Biden announced that he had picked Gary Gensler as his nominee for chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler served in the Obama administration as the chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 to 2014. He also advised on the writing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Gensler also advised the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Biden also announced on Monday that Rohit Chopra, a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, would serve as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Chopra previously worked in the agency as an assistant director.
- Five of Biden’s Cabinet nominees will participate in confirmation hearings on Tuesday:
- Lloyd Austin, nominee for secretary of defense, will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
- Janet Yellen, nominee for secretary of the treasury, will appear before the Senate Finance Committee.
- Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee for secretary of homeland security, will appear before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- Tony Blinken, nominee for secretary of state, will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
- Avril Haines, nominee for director of national intelligence, will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s energy secretary nominee, submitted her financial disclosure forms. Granholm and her husband owned between $4.4 million and $16.8 million in investments, including in the energy industry. She said she would step down from her role on Proterra Inc.’s board of directors and divest if confirmed.
Transition in Context
What We’re Reading
- FiveThirtyEight: Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?
- Fox News: Senate considering Biden nominees Tuesday, with no announcement yet on handling impeachment, other business
- NBC News: Viewers’ guide to Biden’s Inauguration Day: Everything you need to kno