Buttigieg, Mayorkas confirmation votes set for Tuesday

February 2, 2021: Two Senate confirmation votes for Pete Buttigieg and Alejandro Mayorkas are scheduled Tuesday.

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 Tuesday:
    • Tom Vilsack, nominee for secretary of agriculture, will appear before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
    • The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs will consider the nomination of Denis McDonough for secretary of veterans affairs.


  • President Joe Biden (D) is expected to announce immigration-related executive actions on Tuesday to review and potentially reverse Trump administration border policies. One action will create a task force dedicated to reuniting families separated at the border, according to The Washington Post.
  • Biden signed a proclamation on Monday to reimpose a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the United Arab Emirates. President Donald Trump (R) had lifted the tariff in a proclamation on January 19. 

Transition in Context: Expanding Cabinet

Each administration gives Cabinet-rank status to different officials outside of the 15 main Cabinet secretaries and vice president.

President Joe Biden (D) has given Cabinet-rank status to nine positions:

  • White House chief of staff
  • Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • U.S. trade representative
  • Director of National Intelligence
  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration
  • Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

President Donald Trump (R) did not include the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, ambassador to the United Nations, or director of Office of Science and Technology Policy in his final Cabinet. He did include the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

President Barack Obama (D) established a Cabinet similar to Biden’s but did not include the directors of National Intelligence or Office of Science and Technology Policy.

President George W. Bush (R) had fewer—just five—Cabinet-rank members. He included some familiar positions: the White House chief of staff, OMB director, U.S. trade representative, and EPA administrator.

Bush also named the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to his Cabinet—something none of his three successors have done.

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