Cloture vote on Mayorkas nomination set for Thursday

January 28, 2021: The Senate will vote on a cloture motion to end debate regarding the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security.

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.

  • Two committee hearings are scheduled for Thursday:
    • Marcia Fudge, nominee for secretary of housing and urban development, will appear before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
    • Cecilia Rouse, nominee for chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, will also appear before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted 21-3 in favor of Pete Buttigieg’s nomination for secretary of transportation on Wednesday. Three Republicans voted against advancing him: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.). 


  • Biden issued two executive orders on Wednesday establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and policies to address climate change, including halting new oil and natural gas development on public lands and offshore waters.

Transition in Context: Ambassadorships

Ambassadors are the highest-ranking diplomatic representative of the United States to another country. While most ambassadors are career foreign service officers, the president may fill a post with a political appointee outside of the United States Foreign Service.

According to the American Foreign Service Association in 2020, approximately 44% of President Donald Trump’s (R) ambassador nominations were political appointees rather than career diplomats. The historical average is 30%.

Except for Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Cabinet-rank nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Biden has not made ambassador nominations.

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