The intention, said Ducklo, is “to have as many people as possible on the first day so that we can minimize any roadblocks that might arise because we are waiting for permanent confirmation from our cabinet secretaries.”
Over the past few days, Biden’s team has combed government agencies and consulted with former Obama administration officials familiar with the federal bureaucracy and its staff when selecting interim leaders for different departments. .
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Biden’s intention to appoint temporary agency heads.
This week, Biden officials and congressional allies worked behind the scenes step up the pressure on the Senate Republicans to advance critical national security choices, including those who run Homeland Security, the state, and the Department of Defense. Hearings have since been scheduled for Jan. 19 for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and State Department pick Tony Blinken. A hearing for Lloyd Austin, the choice of Biden’s defense secretary, was already scheduled for January 19. The full Senate will still have to vote on the candidates in the likelihood that they make it through their respective committees.
Biden officials have placed particular emphasis on Mayorkas, given the deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week and the continuing threats of violence as Biden prepares to take power.
Although Biden named many of his candidates in November, the confirmation process was delayed as Trump challenged the election results and his administration dragged its feet in transition efforts. The Republican-controlled Senate also failed to act quickly to schedule confirmation hearings.
But Democrats will soon assume a narrow majority in the chamber thanks to victories in two rounds of the Georgia Senate earlier this month. Once sworn in, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will become the deciding vote.
New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer written in a letter of January 12 to Democratic senators that he would work to immediately confirm the nominees in Biden’s Cabinet.
“The violent insurgency at the United States Capitol on January 6 showed us that we needed qualified and Senate confirmed people (not acting) in key national security positions on day one,” Schumer wrote. . “The economic challenges facing our country also demand that the main economic candidates be confirmed and up to work as soon as possible.”