Granholm confirmed as energy secretary by 64-35 vote

February 26, 2021: The Senate confirmed Jennifer Granholm for secretary of energy by a vote of 64-35 on Thursday.

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 Senate confirmed Jennifer Granholm for secretary of energy by a vote of 64-35 on Thursday. All 35 no votes came from Republicans. Her nomination received the second-most opposition of Biden’s nominees so far, following the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security by a vote of 56-43. Granholm, who was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday evening, is the tenth member of Biden’s Cabinet to be confirmed. 
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Merrick Garland for attorney general on Monday.


  • Biden ordered airstrikes in Syria on buildings used by Iran-backed militant groups, marking the first known use of military force by his administration. The Pentagon said it was a retaliatory strike in response to attacks in Iraq on American and allied personnel.
  • Biden is traveling to Texas on Friday in his first visit to a major disaster site as president. He will meet with local leaders to discuss relief efforts and promote coronavirus vaccinations.

Transition in Context: In Their Words…

Here’s what Democratic and Republican leaders, advisers, and stakeholders said about Debra Haaland as the nominee for secretary of the interior. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held Haaland’s confirmation hearings from Feb. 23-24. The committee has not yet voted on her nomination.

  • “After our conversation, I’m deeply concerned with the Congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America, including her support for the Green New Deal and President Biden. … I’m not convinced the Congresswoman can divorce her radical views and represent what’s best for Montana and all stakeholders in the West. Unless my concerns are addressed, I will block her confirmation.” – Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
  • “Deb Haaland’s experience and commitment to restoring the public trust and the mission of this important agency is a breath of fresh air after the last four years of her predecessors’ shameful neglect and outright mission abandonment. As the first-ever Native American to serve as Secretary, she will bring a new and necessary voice to the agency that is crucial to Oregon and all of America.” – Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
  • “Her vocal opposition to oil and gas production on federal lands will only encourage President Biden along the illegal and reckless path that he has begun. Representative Haaland must demonstrate that she will follow the law, protect the multiple uses of our public lands, and reject policies that will force energy workers into the unemployment line. I won’t support her nomination otherwise.” – Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
  • “I believe Congresswoman Haaland is uniquely qualified to serve as Secretary of Interior during this critical moment. As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, she has built a strong reputation working with her colleagues as a seeker of solutions. Her bold leadership is what the Department of the Interior needs to tackle the monumental challenge of preserving the natural world around us for future generations.” – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)

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