January 21, 2021: The Senate confirmed Avril Haines for director of national intelligence on Wednesday night by a vote of 84-10.
President Joe Biden (D) and his team have been preparing for the transition between presidential administrations since the election, 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 administration.
- The Senate confirmed Avril Haines for director of national intelligence on Wednesday night by a vote of 84-10. She will be the first woman to serve in this position. Ten Republicans opposed her confirmation: Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Mike Lee (Utah), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Rand Paul (Ky.), James Risch (Idaho), and Mike Braun (Ind.). Six senators—four Republicans and two Democrats—did not vote.
- Pete Buttigieg will appear before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for his confirmation hearing for secretary of transportation on Thursday.
- The House is expected to vote on granting or opposing a waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense on Thursday, since he has not been out of active duty service for at least seven years.
- Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the incoming chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that he supported a waiver for Austin on Wednesday. During Austin’s hearing, the committee’s chairman, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), said, “I’ve never been all that concerned about the seven years.”
Transition in Context: Acting Agency Leadership
With no Cabinet or agency directors confirmed by his inauguration, Biden announced the following acting leadership across several key agencies on Wednesday. Senate confirmation is not required for these positions.
The White House said in a statement, “These individuals, nearly all of whom are career civil servants, will temporarily lead federal agencies while Cabinet nominees continue moving through the confirmation process.”
- Central Intelligence Agency, David Cohen
- Department of Defense, David Norquist
- Department of Energy, David Huizenga
- Department of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran
- Department of Homeland Security, David Pekoske
- Department of Justice, Monty Wilkinson
- Department of Labor, Al Stewart
- Department of State, Dan Smith
- Department of Treasury, Andy Baukol
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Lora Shiao
- General Services Administration, Katy Kale
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Steve Jurczyk
- National Endowment for the Arts, Ann Eilers
- National Endowment for the Humanities, Adam Wolfson
- Office of Management and Budget, Rob Fairweather
- Office of National Drug Control Policy, Regina LaBelle
- Office of Personnel Management, Kathy McGettigan
- Small Business Administration, Tami Perriello
- Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul
- U.S. Agency for International Development, Gloria Steele
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Dev Jagadesan
- U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Rich Mills
- Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Maria Pagan
What We’re Reading
- CNN: How the narrow Senate majority will shape Biden’s presidency
- The Wall Street Journal: Biden Faces Early Hurdles on Nominees, Covid-19 Relief
- The Washington Post: Buttigieg to cite ‘generational opportunity’ on infrastructure at confirmation hearing Thursday