Biden rolls out group of deputy secretary nominees

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President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced a slate of nominees to serve as deputy secretaries across his administration, further filling out his team just two days before he will take office. 

Biden announced nominees to serve as deputy secretaries at the departments of Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Education. All five of the nominees are women. 

The transition team also officially announced that he would nominate Rohit Chopra, a member of the Federal Trade Commission, to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Gary Gensler, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the Obama administration, to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. Those nominations had been previously reported.

Biden plans to nominate Elizabeth Klein, who worked in the Interior Department during the Clinton and Obama administrations, as deputy secretary of the Interior under Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.); Jewel Bronaugh, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as deputy secretary of Agriculture under Tom Vilsack; and Andrea Palm, the current secretary-designee of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, as deputy secretary of Health and Human Services under Xavier Becerra. 

The president-elect will also nominate Polly Trottenberg, New York City’s transportation commissioner, as deputy secretary of Transportation under Pete Buttigieg and Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego unified school district, as deputy secretary of Education under Miguel Cardona. 

“Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves,” Biden said in a statement Monday.

“These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward,” he continued.

All but two of the newly-announced nominees for deputy secretary positions — Marten and Bronaugh — worked in positions in the Obama administration in the agencies where they will serve in the Biden administration if confirmed.

Marten has been an educator for more than three decades, serving in various positions including as a teacher, superintendent and principal. 

Bronaugh, who if confirmed would be the first woman of color to serve as deputy secretary of Agriculture, was tapped by then-Secretary Vilsack to serve as Virginia state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency during the Obama administration. Vilsack also hopes to reprise his role as Agriculture chief in the Biden administration.

The announcement comes as Biden prepares to be sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday. Last week, Biden rolled out a $1.9 trillion economic relief proposal that he wants Congress to swiftly pass and also laid out his coronavirus vaccination plan. He also plans to sign roughly a dozen executive orders on his first day as president to address issues including immigration, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how quickly the Senate will process Biden’s nominees. The first nomination hearings for members of his Cabinet begin on Tuesday, and it appears that Biden will enter office without a single Cabinet member confirmed on Wednesday.

The incoming administration is expected to appoint acting agency heads when Biden takes over, including career government officials and potentially a few Trump appointees, to helm various departments until a permanent secretary is confirmed.

Tags biden administration Deb Haaland Gary Gensler Joe Biden Miguel Cardona Pete Buttigieg Tom Vilsack Xavier Becerra

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