Confirmation hearings set for Granholm, Thomas-Greenfield, and McDonough

January 27, 2021: Jennifer Granholm, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Denis McDonough are appearing before Senate committees on Wednesday for their confirmation hearings.

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 the nomination of Antony Blinken for secretary of state on Tuesday by a vote of 78-22. All votes against his nomination came from Republicans. 
  • Three committee hearings are scheduled for Wednesday:
    • Jennifer Granholm, nominee for secretary of energy, will appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
    • Linda Thomas-Greenfield, nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    • Denis McDonough, nominee for secretary of veterans affairs, will appear before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will also vote on advancing Pete Buttigieg’s nomination for secretary of transportation on Wednesday.
  • On Tuesday, the Senate Homeland Security Committee advanced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security by a vote of 7-4.


  • Biden issued an executive order on Tuesday to phase out federal use of privately operated criminal detention facilities and prisons.
  • Biden also signed three other executive actions on Tuesday focused on racial equity. The actions addressed anti-discrimination housing policies, the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and violence and xenophobia against Asian Americans.
  • Federal judge Drew Tipton temporarily blocked Biden’s pause on deportations for 100 days. Tipton wrote, “The Jan. 20 memorandum not only fails to consider potential policies more limited in scope and time, but it also fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.”

Transition in Context: Pace of Confirmations

Yesterday, we looked at the pace of Senate confirmations for the main 15 Cabinet positions following the inaugurations of Presidents Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D).

Today, we’re comparing Biden and President Barack Obama (D). Six days after his inauguration, Biden had three nominees confirmed compared to 10 confirmations for Obama. An additional Obama Cabinet member—Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—was held over from the Bush administration.

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