The Daily Brew: Biden’s 15 main Cabinet members all confirmed

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Final update on pace of Cabinet confirmations
  2. Georgia voters to decide 2022 measure that would suspend salaries of officials under felony indictment
  3. 77 million people can’t be wrong!

An update on pace of Cabinet confirmations

When we updated you on President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations three weeks ago, the Senate had confirmed 10 of 15 main Cabinet members. We define main cabinet members as those in the presidential line of succession. Now, the Senate has confirmed all 15. By the same point in their respective presidencies, the Senate had confirmed 13 of Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s main Cabinet nominees each.

The Senate confirmed former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as secretary of labor on March 22, completing Biden’s main Cabinet. That was 61 days after Biden took office. 

Secretary of labor was also the final position filled in President Trump’s main Cabinet. In 2017, the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta 97 days after Trump took office. Trump’s first pick for that position, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration on Feb. 15, 2017.

On Obama’s 63rd day as president in 2009, the Senate confirmed his 14th main Cabinet member, Gary Locke, as commerce secretary. The Senate confirmed his final main Cabinet member, Kathleen Sebelius, as secretary of health and human services on Obama’s 98th day in office.

The Cabinet is a group of senior federal officials who advise the president on the issues and activities of their respective departments. The group is not necessarily limited to the 15 department heads in the presidential line of succession. Positions considered Cabinet-level can vary by administration. 

Biden identified 23 nominees for his Cabinet, 21 of whom have been confirmed. In addition to the ones listed in the charts above, Cabinet-rank positions requiring Senate confirmation in Biden’s administration are:

  • United Nations ambassador
  • Environmental Protection Agency administrator
  • Office of Management and Budget director
  • U.S. trade representative
  • National Intelligence director
  • Small Business Administration administrator 
  • Council of Economic Advisers chair
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy director 

Read on 

Georgia to vote in 2022 on suspending pay for officials indicted for felony

Here’s a piece of election news you may not have heard from the Peach State. Georgia voters will decide in 2022 whether to amend the state constitution to withhold the salaries of state legislators and most state executive officials suspended from office due to a felony indictment. Both chambers of Georgia’s Legislature must pass a proposed amendment by a two-thirds majority to send it to the ballot. The Senate passed this amendment 51-1 on March 8. The House passed it 169-0 on March 23. 

The proposed amendment applies to the following officeholders:

  • Members of the General Assembly
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant governor
  • Secretary of state
  • Attorney general
  • State school superintendent
  • Commissioner of insurance
  • Commissioner of agriculture
  • Commissioner of labor

In late January, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck had been receiving pay and benefits since being indicted for federal wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges in May 2019. Beck has said he is innocent of the charges. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) suspended Beck—who was first elected in 2018—in May 2019. 

Georgia has been paying the salaries of Beck and John King—Kemp’s appointment to fill the position—during Beck’s suspension. Under the state’s constitution, assembly members and public officials who are suspended from office due to a felony indictment still receive compensation until they are convicted. According to the proposed amendment, officials who are reinstated to their position would receive pay withheld during the suspension.

This is the only measure currently certified for Georgia’s 2022 ballot. Twelve measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot across nine states.

Read on 

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.