Biden’s Cabinet Picks Include Some Firsts

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has begun naming picks for his new Cabinet, as well as other top-level administration officials. Biden has pledged to choose a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of the American population. His selections will be scrutinized by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and must win confirmation in a narrowly controlled Senate, whose majority party will be determined by two Georgia Senate runoffs in January. Here are Biden’s selections so far.Janet YellenSecretary of the TreasuryYellen, 74, is a familiar face in financial circles, having been the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, as well as the top economic adviser to President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to head the Treasury Department. She previously was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and was Fed vice chair from 2010 to 2014 alongside then-Chairman Ben Bernanke. As head of the Fed, Yellen kept interest rates near zero until late 2015, when she lifted them very slowly to encourage employment gains.FILE – In this July 27, 2016, file photo, Neera Tanden speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.Neera TandenDirector of the Office of Management and BudgetTanden is president of the liberal Center for American Progress research group and has previously worked in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. She was director of domestic policy for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and helped craft the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s sweeping health care bill popularly known as Obamacare. Tanden was also policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. If confirmed, Tanden, 50, a South Asian American, would be the first woman of color to lead OMB, the agency that oversees the federal budget.President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Antony BlinkenSecretary of StateBlinken was deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Blinken, 58, has long served in foreign policy positions during Democratic administrations, including as a member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel, and later was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser.Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be director of Homeland Security, speaks in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 24, 2020.Alejandro MayorkasSecretary of Homeland SecurityMayorkas is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will be the first Latino and immigrant nominated to head the agency. Born in Havana, Cuba, Mayorkas, 60, came to the United States as a political refugee with his family when he was a child. Following a career as a lawyer, he joined the Obama administration in 2009 as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, where he implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, granting protection to immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks as President-elect Biden announces his national security nominees.Linda Thomas-GreenfieldUnited Nations AmbassadorThomas-Greenfield is a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who has served on four continents. She was President Obama’s top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017, leading U.S. policy in sub-Saharan Africa during the West Africa Ebola outbreak. After leaving the State Department, Thomas-Greenfield took a senior leadership position at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s global strategy company. Biden plans to elevate the position of U.N. ambassador to Cabinet level.President-elect Joe Biden’s climate envoy nominee former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at The Queen theater, Nov. 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.John KerrySpecial Envoy for ClimateKerry is a prominent and longtime figure in the Democratic Party — a former secretary of state in the Obama administration; a former senator from Massachusetts for more than 25 years; and the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. The special envoy for climate is not a Cabinet position, but Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, the first time the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change. Kerry tweeted after the announcement of his selection, “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”President-elect Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence nominee Avril Haines speaks at The Queen theater, Nov. 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.Avril HainesDirector of National IntelligenceHaines is a former deputy director of the CIA and a former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. She will be the first woman nominated to lead the U.S. intelligence community. Haines, 51, is a lawyer and has previously worked with Biden while serving on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as deputy chief counsel when Biden was the committee’s chairman. After leaving the Obama administration in 2017, she held several posts at Columbia University.Former State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan speaks during a hearing on Iran before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 11, 2017.Jake SullivanNational Security AdviserSullivan was Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At age 44, Sullivan will be one of the youngest people to serve in that role in decades, according to the Biden transition team.

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