SPONSORED:

Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet

Several House Democrats are in the running for positions in President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Overnight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart MORE’s Cabinet as he seeks to prioritize diversity and policy acumen in his incoming administration. 

The contenders hailing from the House range from the potential first Native American Cabinet secretary to numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

At least one current House member, Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondCarter sworn in as House member to replace Richmond, padding Democrats' majority Biden set to flex clemency powers Democrats confront difficult prospects for midterms MORE (D-La.), is slated to join the White House as a senior advisor and director of the Office of Public Engagement.

ADVERTISEMENT

After losing several House seats in this year’s elections, Democrats are wary of any potentially costly special elections and are keen to limit any vacancies to safely blue districts.

Biden on Monday unveiled his first round of Cabinet nominees for his national security team, including Antony Blinken to serve as secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Homeland Security secretary; Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence; Linda Thomas-Greenfield to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor. More are expected in the coming days.

Here are five House Democrats currently being floated for additional roles in the Biden administration.

Deb HaalandDeb HaalandSenate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Interior secretary approves new Cherokee constitution providing citizenship rights for freedmen Carter sworn in as House member to replace Richmond, padding Democrats' majority MORE (N.M.)

No House lawmaker has more momentum to land a spot in a Biden Cabinet right now than Haaland. If selected, she would make history as the first Native American in a presidential Cabinet. 

Grassroots progressive groups like Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement have been aggressively lobbying Biden to pick her as his Interior secretary. And House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) dropped out of consideration for the Interior post and threw his support behind Haaland, his committee’s vice chair. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The well-respected chairman and progressive leader last week circulated a letter among his House colleagues urging Biden to tap Haaland at Interior. More than 50 Democrats signed on, including incoming Assistant Speaker Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan Child care advocates seek to lock down billion in new federal funding Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief MORE (D-Mass.); Rep. Grace MengGrace MengSenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing Senate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week MORE (D-N.Y.), a top Democratic party official; and a handful of Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members.

Haaland’s allies have been playing up the historic nature of her potential appointment. In 2018, Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, was one of the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress. If Biden nominates her for Interior, she will make history once again.   

“Representative Deb Haaland is eminently qualified to be Interior Secretary. She has been a champion for our environment and public lands and has worked tirelessly to improve the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and Indian tribes,” Halaand’s Democratic colleagues wrote. “By selecting her to be your Secretary of the Interior, you can make history by giving Native Americans a seat at the Cabinet table for the first time.”

Haaland, a former New Mexico Democratic Party chair, has already been on Biden’s radar. Transition officials are already in the process of vetting her, sources told The Hill.

Other lawmakers under consideration for Interior include two other New Mexico Democrats: retiring Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallStudy: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate Bipartisan bill seeks to raise fees for public lands drilling MORE, whose father was Interior secretary in the 1960s, and Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE.

Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeFudge violated the Hatch Act, watchdog finds Carter sworn in as House member to replace Richmond, padding Democrats' majority HHS, HUD team up to extend COVID-19 vaccine access in vulnerable communities MORE (Ohio)

Fudge, a former CBC chairwoman, has been floated as a potential candidate for Agriculture secretary. She is currently the fourth most-senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and chairs a subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations with jurisdiction over programs to combat hunger like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

Fudge has openly expressed interest in leading the Agriculture Department and, if selected, would be the first Black woman to serve in the role. 

“If Rep. Fudge is asked to serve as Agriculture Secretary she would be honored to do so,” a Fudge spokesperson told The Hill.

To date, only one Black person — Mike Espy, who recently ran for Senate in Mississippi — has served as Agriculture secretary in the department’s history. 

Other Democrats in the mix for the Agriculture post include Rep. Chellie PingreeRochelle (Chellie) PingreePorter urges increased budget for children's National Parks program EPA administrator: We don't plan to return 'verbatim' to Obama-era water regulation Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J MORE (Maine) and former Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (N.D.). 

Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaCrist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy It's time for a second Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health MORE (Fla.)

ADVERTISEMENT

Shalala is out of a job following her surprise loss this month to Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, a former television anchor. 

That’s why Shalala, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton for eight years, has been mentioned as a potential Biden Cabinet pick in recent days. Some have floated her for Education secretary, given her 14 years as president of the University of Miami (Florida) after her stint with Clinton. 

It’s unclear how serious the Biden transition team is taking Shalala, who is 79. Biden himself turned 78 on Friday, and will become the oldest president on Inauguration Day; and he’s expected to look to a younger generation of leaders to fill out his team.

“I would suspect it’s far-fetched. Why not nominate a much younger person for all the obvious reasons?” said one of Shalala’s House colleagues.

Still, Shalala would bring much-needed healthcare and management experience to the new administration at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on K-12 schools and universities across the nation. While she hasn’t ruled out a bid for her old House seat in 2022, Shalala, who has known Biden for decades, also could be tapped for some senior role on Biden’s coronavirus task force.  

“She’s enormously qualified and we’d be lucky to have her in any capacity but especially in healthcare and education, where she’s been a leader,” said a source close to Shalala.      

ADVERTISEMENT

Other House members floated for Education secretary include another Florida Democrat, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonBiden offers traditional address in eerie setting Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Rep. Frederica Wilson shares her famous hat collection with Netflix MORE, a former elementary school principal and Miami-Dade County school board member; and Rep. Jahana HayesJahana HayesHarris holds first meeting in ceremonial office with CBC members Parents of Sandy Hook victims slam Taylor Greene's appointment to Education Committee GOP has growing Marjorie Taylor Greene problem MORE (D-Conn.), the 2016 National Teacher of the Year. Both are Black Caucus members.

Hayes told The Hill that she’s “honored” to be considered for secretary but that she has “a lot more work to do here” in Congress.

Karen BassKaren Ruth BassPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Biden adds pressure to congressional talks with self-imposed deadlines Shining a light on COINTELPRO's dangerous legacy MORE (Calif.) 

Bass’s profile shot up this year as chairwoman of the CBC while leading House Democrats’ efforts to pass a police reform bill. Her prospects for higher office are also rising.

Bass has been floated for multiple roles in a Biden administration, including Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She’s also in the mix to fill a soon-to-be-vacant California Senate seat once Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisImmigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Carper urges Biden to nominate ambassadors amid influx at border Priest who presided over Biden's inaugural mass resigns from university post after investigation MORE (D-Calif.) becomes vice president. 

A spokesperson for Bass didn’t return a request for comment. But Bass, a former Speaker of the California state assembly who once worked as a physician assistant, was previously vetted this summer as a potential vice presidential candidate. That role ultimately went to Harris, but the Biden team is already familiar with Bass’s resume.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other prospects for HHS include New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines White House to announce deal for free vaccination rides from Uber, Lyft MORE and former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyBiden to appear on MSNBC before town hall on vaccines Surgeon general: US 'still not doing enough' to address growing mental health crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal MORE, while potential candidates for Housing and Urban Development range from Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsAtlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' Watch live: Atlanta mayor holds briefing after saying she won't run for reelection The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE to Diane Yentel, the CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Andy LevinAndrew (Andy) LevinSenate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations Ocasio-Cortez, Levin introduce revised bill to provide nationwide electric vehicle charging network MORE (Mich.) 

Progressives and numerous labor unions have been pushing for Levin as one of their top picks for Labor Secretary.

Levin, who was first elected to the House in 2018, is less well-known or as controversial as other top progressives floated for the role like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersStudy: Early unemployment cutoff would cost 16M people 0B Machine Gun Kelly reveals how Bernie Sanders aided him in his relationship with Megan Fox Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response MORE (I-Vt.).

Levin has deep ties to organized labor. His lengthy resume includes serving as assistant director of organizing at the AFL-CIO; a staff attorney to the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations; running Michigan's No Worker Left Behind program to provide job training for unemployed and under-employed people during the Great Recession; and briefly working as acting director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. 

Levin is also the heir to one of Michigan’s Democratic political dynasties. He is the son of former Rep. Sander LevinSander (Sandy) Martin LevinFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Here are Kamala Harris's K Street connections Warren gets endorsements from 45 Michigan officeholders, activists MORE, the former top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the nephew of former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden officials brace for worst despite vaccine data Michigan GOP unveils dozens of election overhaul bills after 2020 loss How President Biden can hit a home run MORE

A Levin spokesperson said that he is “preparing with excitement” for the next session of Congress that begins in January and declined to comment on any conversations with the Biden transition team.  

Aside from Sanders, other prospective candidates for Labor Secretary include Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and California Labor Secretary Julie Su.