Senate holds confirmation hearing for labor nominee Walsh

February 4, 2021: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a confirmation hearing for Marty Walsh for secretary of labor.

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.

  • Three committee hearings are scheduled for Thursday:
    • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a confirmation hearing for Marty Walsh for secretary of labor.
    • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield for ambassador to the U.N. This meeting was postponed from Wednesday. Reuters reported that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked for the delay due to Thomas-Greenfield’s previous remarks about China.
    • The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will vote on the nomination of Marcia Fudge for secretary of housing and urban development.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Budget Committee scheduled Neera Tanden’s confirmation hearing for director of the Office of Management and Budget over two days next week: February 9-10.
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced Gina Raimondo for secretary of commerce by a vote of 21-3.
  • The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources advanced Jennifer Granholm for secretary of energy by a vote of 13-4.


  • Biden issued three proclamations on Wednesday regarding Black History Month, American Heart Month, and National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention.
  • The Federal Labor Relations Authority said all 10 members of the Federal Service Impasses Panel were asked to submit their resignations by Tuesday. “It is customary when control of the White House is transferred between political parties for the new president to replace the panel’s membership, but President Joe Biden acted more quickly than his predecessors,” Bloomberg Law reported.
  • Roger Severino, a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, is suing the Biden administration for calling on him to resign or be fired. Severino’s lawsuit said Biden did not have the constitutional authority to terminate Severino since the board is an advisory entity. The White House had not commented, according to Politico.

Transition in Context: Pace of Confirmations

The following chart compares the pace of Senate confirmations for the main Cabinet members—the 15 agency heads in the presidential line of succession—following the inaugurations of Presidents Barack Obama (D) and Joe Biden (D). It does not include Cabinet-rank officials that vary by administration.

Two weeks after their respective inaugurations, Biden had five Cabinet secretaries confirmed and Obama had eleven. A twelfth Obama Cabinet member—Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—was held over from the Bush administration.

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