Bidens signs executive actions on special enrollment period, Mexico City policy

January 29, 2021: Joe Biden signed two executive actions on federal marketplace enrollment and the Mexico City policy.

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.

  • Next week, the following confirmation hearings have been scheduled:
    • Tom Vilsack, nominee for secretary of agriculture, will appear before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on Feb. 2.
    • Michael Regan, nominee for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will appear before the Senate Committee on Environment and public Works.
  • By a vote of 55-42, the Senate invoked cloture on the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security on Thursday. His confirmation vote is scheduled for Feb. 1. 


  • Biden signed an executive order on Thursday to create a special enrollment period for the federal healthcare marketplace. The Department of Health and Human Services will reopen enrollment from February 15 to May 15.
  • Biden also signed a presidential memorandum ending the Mexico City policy, a prohibition on federal funds being sent to non-governmental organizations that provide access to or information about abortion.

Transition in Context: In Their Words…

Here’s what Democratic and Republican leaders, advisers, and stakeholders said about the nomination of Debra Haaland for secretary of the interior.

“The nomination of Representative Haaland as Interior Secretary embodies clear support for the Green New Deal and a rejection of even the potential of high-wage jobs. Therefore, we implore in the strongest terms to withdraw the nomination of Representative Haaland and instead nominate a consensus-driven individual who will not implement policies that will kill jobs and increase the country’s reliance on foreign adversaries.” – Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and 14 other House Republicans

“I believe Congresswoman Haaland is uniquely qualified to serve as Secretary of Interior during this critical moment. As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, she has built a strong reputation working with her colleagues as a seeker of solutions. Her bold leadership is what the Department of the Interior needs to tackle the monumental challenge of preserving the natural world around us for future generations. I hope my Senate colleagues will join me in a fair and fast consideration and confirmation of her historic nomination to become our nation’s first Native American Cabinet Secretary.”  – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)

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