March 2, 2021: The Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona as secretary of education on Monday evening by a vote of 64-33
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 following nominees for top-level federal positions have confirmation hearings on Tuesday:
- The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is holding hearings for Gary Gensler for commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Rohit Chopra for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- The Senate Budget Committee is holding a hearing for Shalanda Young to be the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Young has been reported as a potential alternative to Neera Tanden to lead the agency if Tanden’s nomination does not succeed.
- The Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona as secretary of education on Monday evening by a vote of 64-33. All 33 votes against his confirmation came from Republicans. He will be sworn into office on Tuesday by Vice President Kamala Harris.
- The Senate will vote on the nomination of Gina Raimondo for secretary of commerce on Tuesday. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation advanced her nomination by a vote of 21-3 in February. If Raimondo is confirmed, Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D) will succeed her as governor of Rhode Island.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Merrick Garland’s nomination for attorney general by a vote of 15-7 on Monday.
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) met with Neera Tanden on Monday. She did not say whether she would support Tanden’s nomination to lead the OMB following the meeting. Tanden’s nomination has stalled in committee.
- Biden issued six proclamations on Monday to commemorate the following daily, weekly, and monthly observances:
- National Consumer Protection Week
- Women’s History Month
- American Red Cross Month
- National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
- Read Across America Day
- Irish-American Heritage Month
- Biden is meeting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. For more information about the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
- The Biden administration is expected to announce sanctions against Russia for the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
- The Pentagon announced that Ukraine will receive a $125 military aid package. The department said that it “encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms that strengthen civilian control of the military, promote increased transparency and accountability in defense industry and procurement, and modernize its defense sector in other key areas in line with NATO principles and standards.”
- The U.S. Forest Service nullified the publication of an environmental impact study that would have allowed for the transfer of Arizona land to a copper mine project.
Transition in Context: How have senators have voted on Biden Cabinet nominees?
As of March 1, the following senators have voted against all or most of Biden’s nominees:
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) voted against all 11 nominees.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted against ten of the 11 nominees.
- Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) voted against nine of the 11 nominees.
- Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) have voted against eight of the 11 nominees.
Hawley discussed his voting record on Monday, saying, “I take them one at a time, if there is someone I think will be good to Missouri, that I can defend to my voters, somebody who I think is going to be good for the job, I’ll vote for them.”
Four Republicans have supported all 11 of Biden’s nominees so far:
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
- Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the only Democrat or independent who caucuses with the Democrats to vote against a Biden nominee: Tom Vilsack for secretary of agriculture.
Sanders said, “I opposed his confirmation…because at a time when corporate consolidation of agriculture is rampant and family farms are being decimated, we need a secretary who is prepared to vigorously take on corporate power in the industry.”
What We’re Reading
- Bloomberg: Biden’s Ratings Show Hardening Polarization
- The Guardian: Biden under pressure from progressives as he prepares to pick first judges
- Politico: Inside Joe Biden’s decision to dive into the Amazon union drive