Holder, Sebelius, Shinseki to stay on for second Obama term

Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will stay in their positions in President Obama’s second term, White House officials said Thursday.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki also will remain, the officials said.

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In 2012, the House voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for failing to provide information demanded by Republicans in a probe into a gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

Seventeen Democrats voted in favor of placing Holder in contempt in the 255-67 vote. The House was also authorized in a separate 258-95 vote to take civil action against Holder, a step it took because the Department of Justice did not intend to pursue the criminal contempt measure. Twenty-one Democrats voted for the civil action.

Holder and Democrats said the probe and vote pushed by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were politically motivated.

“Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year,” Holder said at the time. “By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety.”

The White House has been facing criticism about diversity in the Cabinet and in the halls of the West Wing, but Holder's and Sebelius's decisions to stay keep a high-profile African-American and a woman in Obama's Cabinet.

Obama's last two appointments — Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) — are white men. And Obama is expected to nominate White House chief of staff Jack Lew to be Treasury secretary as soon as this week.

The White House also announced Wednesday that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis would leave the administration.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday, responding to a White House-released photo of a mostly-male inner circle staff, said it was "not reflective of the diversity of the White House staff."

—This story was posted at 4:53 p.m. and updated at 5:40 p.m.