After a slow start, key agency positions are being filled.
President Trump made more progress in recent days toward filling the federal government’s long list of political appointments, naming his picks for two vacancies at the embattled Export-Import Bank as well as for positions at a smattering of other agencies.
Trump chose former Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., to serve as president of the bank, and former Rep. Spencer T. Bachus III, R-Ala., to sit on the board. Although Garrett has described the Ex-Im Bank as “taxpayer-funded welfare for mega corporations” as recently as 2015, the agency said it was “heartened” by the nominations and Trump’s recent supportive statements. Trump railed against the bank on the 2016 campaign trail, and until last week he remained cagey about whether he would support it as president.
Trump also named John J. Sullivan as his pick to serve as deputy secretary of State. The nomination of Sullivan counts for two vacant administration positions, as officials announced he also would serve as the agency’s deputy secretary for management and resources.
There are about 4,000 political appointee positions across the federal government, 1,100 of which require Senate confirmation. The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service have been tracking 554 of the 1,100 positions requiring confirmation. As of Tuesday afternoon, 22 appointees had been confirmed by the Senate, 59 people had been nominated or announced for positions and 473 spots lacked a nominee.
Other recent nominees to key jobs include:
Commerce: Gilbert Kaplan, undersecretary for international trade. Kaplan is a partner at the King & Spalding law firm, where he focuses on international trade. He previously served as deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary of Commerce for import administration during the Reagan administration.
Homeland Security: John Marshall Mitnick, general counsel. Mitnick is currently senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for the Heritage Foundation. He previously worked at defense contractor Raytheon Co., and served as associate counsel to President George W. Bush.
Selective Service System: Donald Benton, director. Benton has spent the last 20 years serving as a Washington state senator, and he was director of the Clark County Environmental Services Department from 2013 to 2016.
Treasury: Marshall Billingslea, assistant secretary for terrorist financing. Billingslea is currently managing director of business intelligence services for Deloitte Advisory, where he focuses on illicit finance. He held various posts at the Defense Department over more than a decade.