Politico

First Biden Cabinet picks coming Tuesday, top advisers say


Top advisers to President-elect Joe Biden said Sunday he’ll announce his first Cabinet picks on Tuesday.

“We will be making our first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday of this week, and I would say the president-elect is very excited about this team and looks forward to introducing them to the country,” senior adviser Kate Bedingfield said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, also confirmed the Tuesday announcement on ABC’s “This Week,” saying the Democratic president-elect’s transition team would “beat the pace” of both the Obama-Biden and Trump transitions.

“But if you want to know what Cabinet agencies they are, who’s going to be in those Cabinet agencies,” he added, “you’ll have to wait for the president-elect to say that himself on Tuesday.”

Appearing separately on CNN’s “State of the Union,” senior adviser Jennifer Psaki spoke about the diversity of Biden’s Cabinet picks, following calls from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), among others, to include progressive voices in the process following the progressives’ role electing Biden.

“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect (Kamala) Harris were elected by a coalition of people across the country and that included people who are progressive and moderate and Republican, although most Americans don’t think of themselves by those definitions,” Psaki said on CNN. “Their Cabinet and the team will look like America, so that means diversity of ideology, and he wants to have a range of views of people at the table.”

“I would encourage people to wait who he sees and announces and nominates in the weeks to come,” Psaki added. “Of course, there will be some this week and more in the weeks following, but he wants to have a diversity of voices at the table because he fully understands that is how he is going to move an agenda forward.”

Last week, Biden said he had made his selection for Treasury secretary, but he’s keeping his choice under wraps. “You’ll find it is someone who I think is — will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions,” he said.

Several Senate Republicans have indicated they will confirm most of Biden’s Cabinet picks in January, but Psaki pointed out the transition faces a roadblock when it comes to the required FBI background checks.

The General Services Administration, the federal agency responsible for starting the formal presidential transition process, has not yet certified Biden’s victory — meaning Biden’s team can’t access federal resources.

“FBI background checks cannot happen unless there’s ascertainment,” Psaki said. “And I expect not just Democrats but Republicans in the Senate to be outraged that they don’t have access to that information. It could take weeks for that to happen, so that’s another pressure point we could see in the coming days.”

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