WASHINGTON — When Joe Biden assembled his list of Cabinet picks, he was aiming to select the most diverse and representative Cabinet in America's history, but a few picks have seen rocky reception from the GOP while others sailed through their confirmation hearings.
Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston and Biden's pick for Labor secretary, received a bipartisan confirmation vote in the Senate on Monday.
Neera Tanden, former progressive think-tank head and Biden's pick for the Office of Management and Budget, withdrew herself from consideration last week after she was the center of backlash from both sides of the aisle for bombastic social media activity.
Other nominees still await confirmation hearings even as the Biden administration has begun its work on foreign and domestic issues.
Here are all Biden's Cabinet picks and where they stand in the confirmation process:
Secretary of State
Pick: Antony Blinken.
Status: Confirmed on Jan. 26, 2021.
Blinken, a veteran foreign policy official and longtime confidant of Biden, passed the Senate with a vote of 78-22. Blinken held top-level national security and State Department positions during the Obama administration and has worked closely with Biden for decades.
Blinken will take on much of Trump’s foreign policies and promised at his confirmation hearing to rebuild the State Department, repair frayed alliances and restore America’s global leadership.
"My career has come full circle," he tweeted the day he was sworn in. "I started at the @StateDept in 1993, and, today, it's the honor of my life to lead the Department's women and men as the 71st Secretary of State."
Secretary of the Treasury
Pick: Janet Yellen.
Status: Confirmed on Jan. 25, 2021.
Yellen passed the Senate 84-15 to become the first woman to lead the department. Yellen was also the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve System beginning in 2014 during the Obama administration, after having served more than three years as vice governor. She previously served as head of the Council of Economic Advisers to former President Bill Clinton. She is the first person to head the Treasury, Federal Reserve and the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Yellen has said Congress needs to approve more stimulus money to spur economic growth during the pandemic. She comes from a long background of fighting unemployment, and also has a reputation as someone who can build consensus to bridge partisan divides. She’ll be Biden’s point person on the budget and deficit, which she has expressed concerns about. But Yellen has indicated that with borrowing costs at a historic low and the financial toll on households piling up, now isn’t the time to curtail spending.
Secretary of Defense
Pick: Lloyd Austin.
Status: Confirmed on Jan. 22, 2021.
Austin received overwhelming support in the Senate with a vote of 93-2. The retired general is the first Black secretary of Defense the nation has seen. He was the Army’s vice chief of staff and also led the military’s most consequential command, Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
The House and Senate had to pass a waiver to allow Austin’s nomination to proceed because of a law barring recently retired military officers from serving as Defense secretary. Democrats cited the need for Biden to have his national security team in place swiftly after the events of the riot on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Pick: Merrick Garland.
Status: Confirmed on March 10, 2021.
Garland is set to oversee the Justice Department at a pivotal moment in American history, inheriting issues of criminal justice reform and law enforcement reform, as well as questions of domestic terrorism.
During his committee hearing, he faced questions about how he may handle legal issues facing Trump, including his actions and statements leading up to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Garland was nominated for the Supreme Court by Obama in 2016 but was blocked from having confirmation proceedings by the Republican-led Senate. He is a longtime judge and served in the DOJ in previous administrations. He is known for his work during the Clinton administration prosecuting domestic terror threats like the Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics bombings.
Secretary of the Interior
Pick: Debra Haaland.
Status: Confirmed on March 15, 2021.
Haaland, a member of Congress representing New Mexico, awaits a vote from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee after her hearing last month. She is the first Native American to not only serve in that position, but in any Cabinet position.
The Department of the Interior is home to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Haaland is an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe and serves on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Republicans on the committee questioned her past support for ending natural gas fracking and pipeline development and brought up her tweet in October that "Republicans don’t believe in science."
"There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to (fund) critical services," she told the committee. "But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed."
Secretary of Agriculture
Pick: Tom Vilsack.
Status: Confirmed Feb. 23, 2021.
Vilsack was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 92-7. He returns to his role during the Obama administration, when he served as head of the USDA for eight years. He told the Senate agriculture committee that he was prepared to resume his role with the understanding that the nation faces fundamentally different challenges.
He noted the coronavirus public health crisis caused an increase in hunger in American households and added that he will face the issue of protecting essential meatpacking and farm workers. He also spoke to some of Biden’s top goals for his administration, saying he would look to address racial inequalities in farming programs and tackle climate change.
Secretary of Commerce
Pick: Gina Raimondo.
Status: Confirmed on March 2, 2021.
Raimondo passed the Senate with a 84-15 vote. The governor of Rhode Island was also a Rhodes scholar who co-founded a venture capital firm early in her career and has maintained good relations with the business community during her term as governor.
Under Raimondo, the Commerce Department is likely to play a large part in executing Biden’s "Buy American" and "Build Back Better" campaigns. The department will also play a role in the crucial trade relationship with China and managing business community sentiments.
Secretary of Labor
Pick: Marty Walsh.
Status: Confirmed on March 22, 2021.
Walsh, who has served as Boston’s mayor since 2014, is a close ally of organized labor groups and Biden himself. He received approval from the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and his nomination was sent to the full Senate for a vote, where he passed 68-29.
He will be expected to address issues related to workplace regulations in a changing economy, expanding collective bargaining and reducing economic inequality, as well as issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Pick: Xavier Becerra.
Status: Confirmed on March 18, 2021.
Becerra, who served as California’s attorney general since 2017 and as a member of Congress before that, was the first of Biden’s nominees not to emerge from his committee hearing with a favorable vote. The Finance Committee deadlocked 14-14. His full Senate vote was 50-49.
Becerra will be the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services. He was an aggressive foil to Trump, as he spearheaded numerous lawsuits against the former administration on behalf of the state of California. Becerra led the coalition of Democratic states defending Obamacare from the Trump administration's efforts to overturn it.
He will lead the department through the health crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 Americans so far.
He faced questions from GOP lawmakers who said Becerra, a former attorney with no medical experience, is unqualified to helm HHS, a $1.4 trillion agency with a broad portfolio, during the pandemic.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Pick: Marcia Fudge.
Status: Confirmed on March 10, 2021.
Fudge, if confirmed, will join the Biden administration with eight terms in Congress under her belt, having served as a representative for Ohio’s 11th District since 2008.
She would be the second Black woman to serve in the position and would head the agency as it faces the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, while cities wrestle with economies devastated by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee voted 17-7 to approve Fudge’s nomination, and her nomination has been sent to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.
Department of Transportation
Pick: Pete Buttigieg.
Status: Confirmed Feb. 2, 2021.
Buttigieg was confirmed 86-13 to become the first openly gay Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was a competitor in the Democratic presidential nomination before he dropped out of the race and put his full weight behind Biden.
His data-driven background with the consulting firm McKinsey made him known for ideas he implemented in South Bend, including the "smart sewers" that saved the city an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars and became a template for a product now sold to cities all over the world.
Biden's infrastructure and clean energy plan has proposed placing 500,000 charging stations along highways and changing federal vehicles to electric power, which Buttigieg will take charge of as secretary.
Secretary of Energy
Pick: Jennifer Granholm.
Status: Confirmed on Feb. 25.
Granholm was attorney general of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and the 47th governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011. She was the first woman to serve as Michigan's governor, where she made clean energy development a hallmark of her administration. She has since focused on initiatives expanding renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Granholm has also been a Democratic strategist and analyst on CNN.
The Senate voted 64-35 to confirm Granholm. She will be tasked with carrying out Biden’s energy agenda, which has so far included rejoining the Paris accords to cut greenhouse gases, stopping new oil and gas leases on federal lands and blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Secretary of Education
Pick: Miguel Cardona.
Status: Confirmed on March 1, 2021.
Cardona passed the Senate by a vote of 64-33, as the country looks to reopen schools safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The education commissioner in Connecticut and longtime teacher is expected to reverse policies put in place under the former secretary, Betsy DeVos, and steer the country through its student debt crisis.
At his confirmation hearing on Feb. 3, Cardona said schools can reopen safely without all teachers being vaccinated against COVID-19, a sentiment echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Pick: Denis McDonough.
Status: Confirmed on Feb. 8, 2021.
McDonough passed the Senate with a vote of 87-7. He previously served as Obama’s chief of staff in his second term and as deputy national security adviser, including during the Navy SEAL raid in 2011 that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
As a former staffer on Capitol Hill, he was also known for helping Obama reach across the aisle to get members on the same page, including during the passage of the Veterans Choice Act to help give former service members more options to seek care and the VA secretary more authority to fire underperforming staffers.
Secretary of Homeland Security
Pick: Alejandro Mayorkas.
Status: Confirmed on Feb. 2, 2021.
Mayorkas, the first Latino and immigrant to be DHS secretary, was confirmed by the Senate with a 56-43 vote, the tightest margin of all Biden’s nominees so far. The Cuban American lawyer ran Citizenship and Immigration Services before becoming deputy secretary of the department during the Obama administration. Mayorkas arrived in the U.S. with his Cuban refugee parents in 1960.
He faced pointed questions from Republicans about his background during his confirmation hearing, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urging colleagues to vote against his confirmation, slamming the nominee as an "ethically compromised partisan lawyer.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Pick: Michael Regan.
Status: Confirmed on March 10, 2021.
Regan was approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee in February and has not yet been scheduled for a Senate vote. He will be the first Black man to lead the EPA.
The experienced, but not widely known, state regulator from North Carolina heads his state’s environmental agency. He previously spent almost a decade at the federal EPA, including managing a national program for air-pollution issues.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Pick: Neera Tanden.
Status: Withdrawn on March 2, 2021.
Tanden, who led the liberal think tank Center for American Progress for a decade, withdrew herself from consideration for OMB director after weeks of controversy and strong pushback over her views and social media activity.
Tanden is known as a strong partisan on social media, and has fired off abrasive tweets at Republicans and progressives on the left alike. The collapse of her confirmation was the first major blow to Biden’s cabinet selection process.
Biden indicated in a statement he may still appoint Tanden to a position in his administration that does not require Senate approval.
In a letter from Tanden withdrawing her nomination sent out by the White House, she said, "it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities."
Tanden would have become the first woman of color and first South Asian person to lead the office.
Director of National Intelligence
Pick: Avril Haines.
Status: Confirmed on Jan. 20, 2021.
Haines was confirmed by a vote of 84-10. She is the first woman to lead the U.S. intelligence community. She was previously deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser. She also worked with Biden when she served as deputy chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2007 to 2008 when Biden was the committee's chairman.
As DNI, Haines will face North Korean and Russian threats as well as cyberattacks on U.S. government agencies, while tackling domestic threats from white supremacists and extremist groups.
Secretary of Trade
Pick: Katherine Tai.
Status: Confirmed on March 17, 2021.
Tai is chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and was integral to the Trump administration's negotiation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by helping to negotiate with Democrats.
Tai is the first Asian American person and the first woman of color in the role.
Ambassador to the United Nations
Pick: Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Status: Confirmed Feb. 23, 2021.
Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed with a vote of 78-20 in the Senate. She comes from a more than 35-year career in the foreign service. Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, has held diplomatic roles in numerous posts, from Kenya to Pakistan. She was a top diplomat for African affairs during former President Barack Obama’s administration.
She is expected to reverse policies regarding the UN established under Trump.
“When America shows up – when we are consistent and persistent – when we exert our influence in accordance with our values – the United Nations can be an indispensable institution for advancing peace, security, and our collective well-being," Thomas-Greenfield told lawmakers during her Senate confirmation hearing.
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
Pick: Cecilia Rouse.
Status: Confirmed on March 2, 2021.
Rouse was confirmed 95-4 as the first Black leader of the CEA. She previously served on the council under Obama, and is a Princeton University economist.
“As deeply distressing as this pandemic and economic fallout have been, it is also an opportunity to rebuild the economy better than it was before — making it work for everyone by increasing the availability of fulfilling jobs and leaving no one vulnerable to falling through the cracks,” Rouse said in her confirmation hearing.
Small Business Administrator
Pick: Isabel Guzman.
Status: Confirmed on March 16, 2021.
Guzman is director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, where she works with entrepreneurs to help them weather the pandemic. The former entrepreneur was also a senior adviser and deputy chief of staff at the agency.
Presidential science adviser and director of the office of science and technology policy
Pick: Eric Lander.
Status: Awaiting committee confirmation hearing.
Lander is a top geneticist, mathematician and biology professor at MIT and Harvard. He is known for his work with the Human Genome Project He was previously the co-chair of Obama’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.
Lander won’t participate in certain vaccine-related work in the White House until he divests from a company manufacturing one of the vaccines, Axios reported.
Contributing: Bart Jansen, William Cummings, Savannah Behrmann, Matthew Brown, Deirdre Shesgreen, Deborah Barfield Berry, Romina Ruiz-Goiriena and Paul Davidson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees: Here are their confirmation statuses