Cardona, Walsh nominations advanced to full Senate votes

February 12, 2021: The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced the nominations of Miguel Cardona and Marty Walsh to 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.

  • The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced the nominations of  Miguel Cardona for secretary of education and Marty Walsh for secretary of labor to full Senate votes. 
    • The committee advanced Cardona’s nomination 17-5. The senators who voted against advancing the nomination were Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala).
    • The committee advanced Walsh’s nomination 18-4. Braun, Paul, Scott, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) voted against advancing the nomination.


  • Biden rescinded former President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announcing his proclamation, Biden wrote, “I have also announced that it shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall, and that I am directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memorandum kicking off implementation of Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order directing agency heads to review policies in order to bar discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. HUD said it “interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and direct[s] HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the Act accordingly.”
  • The Biden administration announced it would begin allowing an estimated 25,000 people seeking asylum at the Mexican border into the U.S. while they await immigration court hearings. The process is set to begin Feb. 19 with around 300 people per day. 
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden will begin the process of revoking permissions for states to implement work requirements for Medicaid on Friday.
  • Axios reported that Biden is considering two Republicans for ambassadorships: Former Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Cindy McCain, widow of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Transition in Context: In Their Words…

Here’s what leaders, advisers, and stakeholders said about Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, during and after her hearings before the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Tanden is president and CEO of the Center for American Progress (CAP).

  • “Before I vote on your nomination, it is important for me and members of this committee to know that those donations that you have secured at CAP will not influence your decision making at the OMB.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
  • “I’ve known her for a while, very nice person, but [she’s] not the unity pick I was looking for. … In a time of unity, we’re picking somebody who throws sharp elbows, and there’s going to be consequences for that.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • “[T]he President wouldn’t nominate anyone he wasn’t confident could get confirmed and didn’t deserve the consideration and confirmation … of Senate Democrats and Republicans.” — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki

Tanden responded to questions and criticisms about CAP donations and her past tweets with the following:

  • Tanden said CAP donations would have “zero impact” on her decision-making and that “it will be my role to ensure that I am only serving the interests of the American people.” 
  • She said of her past tweets, “Social media does lead to too many personal comments, and my approach [at OMB] would be radically different.” She also said, “I deeply regret and apologize for my language.”

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