Here's Who Is Leading Federal Agencies as Biden Nominees Await Confirmation
They are mostly career executives, but Biden has tasked some Trump officials with temporarily holding onto their positions.
President Biden was sworn into office Wednesday, though he has taken the reins of the executive branch without any of his leaders requiring Senate confirmation in place.
While in recent decades the Senate quickly confirmed presidential appointees considered of utmost importance for national security, it appeared as of Wednesday afternoon that tradition would not extend to Biden. Federal agencies will be led in the interim primarily by career federal executives, though Biden has tapped Trump holdovers or his own appointees in some cases. The New York Times reported Biden’s team intentionally did not disclose those names prior to his swearing in, an unusual move taken to protect those individuals from potential interference from the outgoing Trump administration.
After Biden’s swearing in, however, the White House made the names public. In a statement, Biden thanked the individuals for their “willingness to step up.”
“These public servants, like so many across the federal government, are dedicated to serving the American people, not a political party or agenda,” Biden said. “Their experience in government and commitment to service will allow this administration to take the reins as we prepare to get the pandemic under control and our economy moving once again.”
Here is a look at the temporary leaders:
Defense Department: David Norquist, the Trump-nominated and Senate-confirmed deputy secretary. Biden tapped Norquist to stay on, as well as holdovers at each of the services. Biden’s secretary-designate, Lloyd Austin, had a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Energy Department: Dave Huizenga, a career employee currently serving as associate principal deputy administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration. Biden's nominee for the role, Jennifer Granholm, is awaiting confirmation.
Environmental Protection Agency: Charlotte Bertrand, a career employee. Michael Regan, Biden's nominee to serve as EPA administrator, is awaiting confirmation.
General Services Administration: Katy Kale, a Biden appointee who served as the agency’s chief of staff under President Obama and head of the GSA Agency Review Team for Biden during the transition.
Health and Human Services Department: Norris Cochran, a career executive and the deputy assistant secretary for budget, who previously served as acting secretary at the start of the Trump administration. Biden's secretary-designate, Xavier Becerra, is awaiting confirmation.
Homeland Security Department: David Pekoske, the Trump-nominated and Senate-confirmed head of the Transportation Security Administration. By law, TSA administrators serve five-year terms. Biden’s secretary-designate, Alejandro Mayorkas, had a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Housing and Urban Development: Matt Ammon, a long-time career employee. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Calif., is Biden’s secretary-designate.
Interior Department: Scott de la Vega, who currently serves as the associate solicitor for general law. Biden’s pick to lead Interior, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., is awaiting confirmation.
Justice Department: Monty Wilkinson, a career official who currently serves as Justice’s chief human capital officer, has been tapped as acting attorney general. Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland is awaiting confirmation.
Labor Department: Al Stewart, a career official and current deputy assistant secretary for operations in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management. Biden’s pick for Labor secretary, Marty Walsh, is awaiting confirmation.
Office of Management and Budget: Rob Fairweather, a career staffer. Neera Tanden is Biden's director-designate.
Office of Personnel Management: Kathleen McGettigan, a long-time career employee who held the same acting job at the start of the Trump administration. Biden has yet to name a nominee for OPM director.
Small Business Administration: Tami Perriello, a career executive currently serving as chief financial officer. Isabel Guzman, Biden's administrator-designate, is awaiting confirmation.
State Department: Daniel Smith, a career Senior Foreign Service Officer who currently serves as director of the Foreign Service Institute. Biden’s secretary-designate, Antony Blinken, had a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Treasury Department: Andy Baukol, a career employee and the current deputy assistant secretary for monetary policy. Biden’s secretary-designate, Janet Yellen, had a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Veterans Affairs Department: Dan Tran, the current principal deputy assistant secretary for enterprise integration. Biden has named Denis McDonough as his nominee for VA secretary.
See a full list of acting leaders here.
This story has been updated with additional details.