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• Jobs still on offer in Biden’s Cabinet

  ·          WWashington: US President Joe Biden's Cabinet is nearly complete with the confirmation of Labour Secretary Marty Walsh. But...



WWashington: US President Joe Biden's Cabinet is nearly complete with the confirmation of Labour Secretary Marty Walsh. But Biden has hundreds of key presidential appointments to make to fill out the federal government. 

Biden has around 1,250 federal positions that require Senate confirmation, ranging from the head of the obscure Railroad Retirement Board to more urgent department positions such as assistant and deputy secretaries. 

Of the 790 being tracked by the Partnership for Public Service, 23 appointees have been confirmed by the Senate, 39 are being considered by the Senate, and 466 positions have no named nominee.

Aside from Walsh, who was confirmed on Monday by a 68-29 vote, there are a few finishing touches for his Cabinet-level appointees. 

The Senate has yet to confirm Eric Lander as Biden's top science adviser, and the White House still hasn't named anyone to head his Budget office, after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination amidst a lot of  controversy. 

The White House is facing pressure from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to name Shalanda Young, the current nominee for deputy budget director, to the top role.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set up confirmation votes this week for Young, along with Vivek Murthy for surgeon general and Rachel Leland Levine for assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, before the Senate adjourns till the middle of April.

Beneath the Cabinet heads that have been confirmed are numerous sub-departments that remain without any leaders. Many have only acting heads in place even as the administration faces many pressing situations in addition to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Recent crimes against Asian Americans have sparked a fresh debate over the nation's gun laws, but Biden has yet to nominate anyone to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. And the wave of migrants at the border is another major challenge in enforcing immigration and asylum laws. 

Biden hasn't nominated anyone to head the three key agencies in charge of much of their implementation - Customs and Border Protection; US Citizenship and Immigration Services; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki says they are all vital agencies but has come up with any timeline for naming the nominees.

There are also key vacancies at the Department of Health and Human Services that will play a significant role in addressing the Coronavirus situation. 

Biden has named Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but it's  not very clear who he will choose to head the Food and Drug Administration, which plays an important role in approving vaccines and treatments for the pandemic.

Senate panels are also holding a handful of confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers turn their attention towards issues like the cost of prescription drugs, gun violence and the state of the 2020 Census.

Committees are holding confirmation hearings for Samantha Power to serve as administrator of the US Agency for International Development, Cynthia Minette Marten as  deputy secretary of Education, and Deanne Bennett Criswell as the next FEMA administrator. 

A panel is also considering the nomination of Admiral John C. Aquilino to be commander of the Defence Department's UU Indo-Pacific Command.

A panel will also vote for the nomination of Polly Ellen Trottenberg to be the deputy secretary of transportation.

The pace is much slower than that under Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, as the Biden team was facing trouble from the start because of a lack of cooperation from the Trump administration officials throughout the transition.

Senate Democrats did not win a majority of seats in the chamber until the January 5 Georgia runoff elections, and then it took close to a month for the Democratic and Republican leaders to agree on a resolution governing the organization of the chamber, which delayed committee work even further.

Democrats also privately agree that Trump's second impeachment trial also slowed down the process.


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