Transition Tracker: Biden supports reinstating talking filibuster in U.S. Senate

March 17, 2021: President Joe Biden (D) said he supported reinstating the talking filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

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.

Recent and Upcoming Confirmation Hearings and Votes

  • The Senate confirmed Isabel Guzman for administrator of the Small Business Administration by a vote of 81-17 on Tuesday. She is the 18th member of Biden’s Cabinet to be confirmed.
  • The Senate will vote on the nomination of Katherine Tai for U.S. trade representative on Wednesday. The Senate voted to end debate on her nomination on Tuesday by a vote of 98-0.

News

  • In an interview on Tuesday, Biden said he supported reinstating the talking filibuster in the U.S. Senate. This change would require senators to hold the Senate floor by speaking to block movement on a bill.
  • Biden also discussed the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, saying it would be tough to withdraw troops by May 1 as the Trump administration had pledged.
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report on Tuesday finding that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely directed efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election to benefit President Donald Trump’s (R) presidential campaign.
  • Biden will hold his first news conference on March 25, roughly two months after he took office. “Recent past presidents have typically done so within their first month as a good-faith gesture toward the free press,” Politico reported.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris (D) addressed the United Nations in a speech on Tuesday about women’s rights and violence against women during the coronavirus pandemic.

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 Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D). It does not include Cabinet-rank officials that vary by administration.

Eight weeks after their respective inaugurations, Trump and Biden both had 13 of these secretaries confirmed. Trump’s secretaries of agriculture and labor had not yet been confirmed. Biden’s secretaries of labor and health and human services have not yet been confirmed.

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