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Biden’s White House takes shape
January 18, 2021 - President-elect Joe Biden has announced his Cabinet-level picks with women occupying three high-profile posts for the first time -- Vice President, Treasury Secretary and Director of National Intelligence.
In addition to Vice President Kamala Harris, nominees include Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence. Women could hold 12 of the 24 Cabinet-level offices Biden has nominated.
The Senate has been slow to announce confirmation hearings amid the turmoil caused by outgoing President Trump. This delay places Biden behind his two predecessors. On his first day in office, Trump had his Secretaries of Defence and Homeland Security in place. Former President Barack Obama had seven Cabinet choices cleared by the Senate on Inauguration Day.
Between Election Day in November and Inauguration Day on January 20 U.S. presidents must fill roughly 4,000 politically appointed positions.
Out of these appointees -- Cabinet secretaries, general counsels, ambassadors and other leadership positions -- some 1,250 must be confirmed by the Senate as part of its “advice and consent” responsibilities under the Constitution.
The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the presidency itself. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution mentions “consuls” who could advise the president with “Consent of the Senate.”
George Washington had four people in the first Cabinet: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.