Committee to vote on whether to advance Cardona, Walsh nominations

February 11, 2021: The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will vote on whether to advance Miguel Cardona and Marty Walsh for full Senate votes.

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 Thursday.
  • The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will vote on whether to advance the nominations of Miguel Cardona for secretary of education and Marty Walsh for secretary of labor.


  • The Department of Justice withdrew federal government support for a case against the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Supreme Court. Several states filed the lawsuit, arguing that the individual mandate provision is no longer a valid exercise of Congress’ authority after Congress eliminated the payment in 2017 and that the rest of the law is invalid due to that provision. Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler wrote that “it is now the position of the United States that the amended Section 5000A is constitutional” and that, “if this Court nevertheless concludes that Section 5000A(a) is unconstitutional, that provision is severable from the remainder of the ACA.”
  • The Department of Justice also asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold off on an appeal of a ruling that blocked the Trump administration’s restrictions on the video app TikTok while the Department evaluates the situation. According to the Associated Press, “Trump cited concerns that the Chinese government could spy on TikTok users if the app remains under Chinese ownership.” 
  • Biden signed an executive order related to the coup in Myanmar (Burma) that he said enables the U.S. “to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.” 
  • William Hyslop, U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, announced he would resign at the end of February in response to the Biden administration’s request that 56 (all but two) U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump resign. 

Transition in Context

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.

Three weeks after their respective inaugurations, Biden had six 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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