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Former President Barack Obama had six cabinet members confirmed by the Senate before his day in office in 2009. President Trump had two. But when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, it is unclear whether he will have cabinet members.
After winning the election, Biden quickly introduced his top candidates. But between Trump’s protracted political struggle over election results and future Senate air control over the January 5 runoff in Georgia, the Republican-controlled Senate is slowly planning hearings for them.
The first is scheduled for Friday, when the Senate Intelligence Committee will hear from Avril Haynes, Biden’s chosen director of National Intelligence. Then on Tuesday, the day before taking office, the Senate scheduled hearings for four nominees: retired Army General Lloyd Austin for defense, Janet Yellen for the Treasury, Alejandro Mayorkas for Homeland Security and Anthony Blinken for the State Department.
Biden plans to appoint acting agencies when he takes office next week, a transitional official said, drawing mainly from the ranks of career civil servants.
Now the hasty consideration and vote in his cabinet will face Biden’s insistence on a massive coronavirus relief package – as well as congressional investigations into the January 6 riot and the impeachment process for Trump.
“I hope the Senate leadership will find a way to address its constitutional impeachment responsibilities while working on other urgent matters of this nation,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday.