March 16, 2021: The Senate confirmed Debra Haaland for secretary of the interior on Monday by a vote of 51-40, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
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 Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a committee hearing for Julie Su for deputy secretary of labor.
- The Senate confirmed Debra Haaland for secretary of the interior on Monday by a vote of 51-40, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Four Republicans supported Haaland’s confirmation: Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Dan Sullivan (Alaska). Nine senators—six Republicans and three Democrats—did not vote.
- The Senate will vote on the nomination of Isabel Guzman for administrator of the Small Business Administration on Tuesday.
- Thirteen Democratic senators, led by Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), called on Biden to temporarily suspend waivers of the Buy American program to prevent foreign companies from bidding on government contracts funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.
- Bloomberg reported that Biden was planning a federal tax increase for earners making more than $400,000 a year. The taxes would pay, in part, for his economic and infrastructure plans.
Transition in Context: What is the USPS Board of Governors?
Biden sent nominations to the U.S. Senate for three candidates to be governors of the United States Postal Service on Monday:
- Anton Hajjar
- Amber McReynolds
- Ronald Stroman
The Board of Governors—which consists of nine governors appointed by the president, the postmaster general, and the deputy postmaster general—was established in 1970 by the Postal Reorganization Act.
The nine governors select the postmaster general, who serves an indefinite term at their pleasure. The board is also responsible for directing expenditures, establishing compensation, and setting policies on postal issues.
Louis DeJoy is the current postmaster general. The deputy postmaster general office is vacant. There are two Democratic governors, four Republican governors, and three vacant seats.
What We’re Reading
- Axios: Joe Biden’s 2021 campaign
- CNN: Southwest border crisis leaves Biden vulnerable on all sides
- Politico: Biden under pressure to tap fewer political ambassadors than Trump, Obama