Much of what the media puts out leads to confusion. Their focus on certain of President Biden’s cabinet nominees who have faced controversy would have you think that Biden is having a hard time either nominating or getting appointees confirmed. According to the Washington Post, not only is Biden moving right along with nominees, but he has also already surpassed both former “president” Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama at this same time in their administrations. In fact, WaPo points out that President Biden is the first in decades to have positions filled without even one failed nominee in his secretary positions.
Most people likely do not know just how many positions a president must fill. We hear about the high-profile nominees and little about the rest. According to WaPo, a president must fill approximately 4,000 positions. Some require Senate confirmation (approximately 1,200), while others do not. In the case of President Biden’s cabinet secretaries, all nominees have been confirmed. The only agency position remaining to be filled is Office of Budget Management from which Neera Tanden was withdrawn. Looking at the chart compiled by WaPo, the diversity is striking. Only a few appointees remain who are still being considered by the Senate, including Wendy R. Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State; Bonnie Jenkins, Undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs; Uzra Zeya, undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights; Victoria Nuland, undersecretary for political affairs; and Jose W. Fernandez, undersecretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment. A few “holdovers” remain, and it is not clear whether President Biden will retain them in their positions or name new people in their places. Still other positions remain “unannounced,” though Daniel J. Kritenbrink was recently announced as the nominee for assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. One thing is clear: President Biden took seriously his pledge to assemble the most diverse cabinet in history. The agency positions have all been filled with women, women of color, one black male. The lone white male is Eric Lander, who heads up science.
President Biden has done a great job of keeping his campaign promises. From attacking the pandemic with a robust vaccination program and aid to the American people to filling his cabinet with people who reflect the makeup of the country, he is batting one thousand. President Biden has two big issues coming up: infrastructure and income equity through changing the tax code. Senator Roy Blunt (MO) is already asking Biden to cut his infrastructure bill according to CNBC, but as with his American Rescue Plan, President Biden does not need Republican permission. Changes to the tax code, however, will require bipartisan support, and as of right now, that does not appear to be forthcoming. Average Americans are going to remember how Republicans refused to do anything that would enable us to live better lives, which may well allow President Biden to retain the majority after 2022. Given what he has accomplished to date, we must allow him to continue.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years