The United States Congress, in the early hours of January 7, officially announced Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next US president and vice president respectively. The confirmation means January 19 will be president Donald Trump’s final day in the White House, with the Biden-Harris duo set to be sworn-in the next day.
Since he was announced as the president-elect by the US media in November, Biden has announced his nominees for several key portfolios. Except for the vice president, who is elected alongside the president, the cabinet nominees are appointed only after confirmation by the US Senate. Here’s a look at some of the nominees announced by Joe Biden:
1. Antony Blinken (secretary of state): A former deputy national security advisor and deputy secretary of state, Blinken was nominated by Biden as the incoming secretary of state on November 23, 2020. Blinken will succeed incumbent Mike Pompeo, who is the 70th person to hold this office.
2. Janet Yellen (secretary of treasury): A former chairperson of the US Federal Reserve, and the first woman in that post, Yellen was nominated by Biden on November 30, 2020. If confirmed, Yellen will also be the first female secretary of treasury of the US. She will succeed the incumbent and 77th treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin.
3. Lloyd Austin (secretary of defense): Nominated on December 8, 2020, Austin served as the 12th commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), of which he was the first black commander. He also served as the 33rd vice chief of staff of the US Army. If confirmed, he’ll be the 28th secretary of defense, and the first African-American to hold the position. He will succeed Christopher Miller, who has been serving in an acting capacity since November 2020 after Trump’s sacking of Mark Esper.
4. Merrick Garland (attorney general): On January 7, 2021, Biden announced Garland as his pick for attorney general. Garland’s nomination came on a day Biden himself was officially certified as president-elect. Garland will succeed acting attorney general Jeff Rosen who took over after William Barr, the 85th attorney general, resigned.
5. Alejandro Mayorkas (secretary of homeland security): The department of homeland security will get its first full-time occupant since April 2019 when Mayorkas takes over the position. Announced as nominee on November 23, 2020, Mayorkas will be the seventh secretary of homeland security.
6. Deb Haaland (secretary of interior): Nominated on December 17, 2020, Haaland will be the first native American to head the department of interior, and the first native American cabinet secretary. She will succeed David Bernhardt, who has been serving in acting capacity since April 2019.
Other names announced by Biden include Tom Vilsack (secretary of agriculture), Gina Raimondo (secretary of commerce), Marty Walsh (secretary of labour), Jennifer Granholm (secretary of energy) etc.