February 5, 2021: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) placed a hold on the confirmation vote for Gina Raimondo for secretary of commerce.
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.
- No committee hearings are scheduled Friday.
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield for ambassador to the U.N. by a vote of 18-4.
- The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs advances the nomination of Marcia Fudge for secretary of housing and urban development by a vote of 17-7.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) placed a hold on the confirmation vote for Gina Raimondo for secretary of commerce on Thursday, citing concerns with her position on whether the activity of Chinese company Huawei should be restricted in the U.S. A hold is a procedural tool any senator can use to temporarily block movement on a nominee’s confirmation process.
- Biden signed two memoranda on Thursday directing relevant federal agencies to advance protections for the human rights of LGBT people abroad and modernizing how the national security community approaches workforce issues, including recruitment and retention of workers with critical skills.
- Biden also signed an executive order to expand the U.S. refugee admissions program. In a fact sheet, the Biden White House said the administration had a goal of 125,000 refugee admissions in its first fiscal year.
- Vice President Kamala Harris (D) cast her first tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Friday as part of the budget reconciliation process being used to pass a COVID-19 relief package.
Transition in Context: In Their Words…
Here’s what Democratic and Republican leaders, advisers, and stakeholders said about scheduling a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland for U.S. attorney general.
- “The Democrats have chosen the agenda and they’ve chosen to do the budget resolution, so if there’s a delay in nomination it’s because it’s their choice.” – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
- “I look forward to questioning Judge Garland and potentially supporting his nomination, but not on February 8. Proceeding with the confirmation of an attorney general and the impeachment of a former president at the same time would give neither the attention required.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
- “At this point, there is simply no justification to object to a February 8 hearing for Judge Garland. First, a February 8 hearing accommodates your desire not to hold a hearing on Judge Garland’s nomination during a day when the Senate will be conducting the impeachment trial of former President Trump. Second, a February 8 hearing affords ample time to review Judge Garland’s record. … Third — and most importantly — to delay Judge Garland’s hearing jeopardizes our national security.” – Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
- “[Mitch] McConnell said we’re not going to do any noms during budget resolution or impeachment. Other than just because he can do that, I don’t know why he would do that.” – Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
What We’re Reading
- Business Insider: How Biden is trying to avoid the pitfalls of Obama’s first 100 days
- NBC News: Democrats increase pressure on Biden to cancel student loan debt
- Politico: ‘We’ve learned to love the guy’: How Biden charmed the left