Time Is Wasting, But Dems Still Too Focused On 'Past Admin' To Push Through Current Cabinet

Written By BlabberBuzz | Tuesday, 23 February 2021 05:45

President Biden's top priority so far has been fighting the coronavirus pandemic, but he’s doing that without a Senate-confirmed secretary of Health and Human Services, and with many vacancies to be filled.

The White House has been disturbed by calls on reopening schools, and it's still without an Education secretary to manage the topic.

And the administration has punted the Justice Department on subjects like Biden's power to eliminate student loan debt and whether former President Trump should face prosecution for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, a plan that has been compounded by the absence of a verified attorney general.

Biden is more than a month into his term, but the Senate has passed just six of his Cabinet candidates, leaving vital vacancies as the president attempts to navigate competing pressures.

"It’s time to move," said one former Biden aide who is in touch with the White House. "Impeachment is behind us and these are nominees that need to be in place. From a health secretary amidst a pandemic to a host of others that are needed to help our country recover and help our country function."

The Senate has confirmed Biden's secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

Biden delays his predecessors in the pace of his confirmations for the 15-member Cabinet.

At the 30-day mark of their presidencies, Barack Obama had 14 confirmed Cabinet officials, George W. Bush had 11 and Donald Trump had eight.

Xavier Becerra, Biden's pick for Health and Human Services secretary, is set to appear before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday. Merrick Garland, Biden's nominee for attorney general, will have his hearing at the end of the month.

Other candidates, such as Interior Secretary-designate Deb Halaand, could endure an even harder route to confirmation as Republicans objected to the confirmation.

"Timely confirmation of the President's deeply qualified and crisis-tested nominees is more critical than ever to defeating the pandemic, putting the American people back to work, ensuring families have food on the table, and re-opening our schools," Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for Biden's transition team, said in a statement. "We continue to work with both parties in good faith towards that end."

The absences have been keenly felt at a time when Biden is seeking press ahead with his policy agenda.

In addition to managing the pandemic, Biden is without a leader at the Department of Health and Human Services at a time as he follows through on a pledge to open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.

Wake up, Sleepy Joe, you are the President of the United States.

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