WASHINGTON (AP) – Shortly after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory last month, Cabinet hope Marcia Fudge specifically noted that there are often blacks typed in positions like housing clerk.
On Friday, Biden announced that Fudge, a prominent black congresswoman from Ohio, was his candidate for the exact role. She was introduced alongside Biden’s choice for the job she was originally looking for, head of the agricultural department. Instead, it went to Tom Vilsack, a 70-year-old white man who had held that position for eight years in the Obama administration.
These nominations underscore the competing priorities Biden faces when filling the top echelons of his administration. He has pledged to nominate the most diverse cabinet in history and restore experience to beleaguered federal agencies. He wants to reward loyalists who have stood by him throughout his long career and give new voices in the Democratic Party an opportunity.
Each of his nominees must win affirmation in a tightly-knit Senate that could be controlled by Republicans, depending on who wins two runoff elections in Georgia next month. The GOP has barely recognized Biden’s victory, so the cooperation of its senators in the confirmation process is far from certain.
« There’s a lot of pressure, and one reason you’ve seen such a huge turnout is because people are looking for change from the Trump years, » said Democratic strategist Karen Finney. “That creates a lot of high expectations. «
The challenge doesn’t get any easier. Biden faces a ruling on the attorney general under an in-depth scrutiny of his finances by black leaders who want someone with a civil rights advocacy background and Republicans who, as Biden’s son Hunter, are demanding political independence.
Some of these tensions arose last week during a meeting between Biden and civil rights leaders who urged the new president to diversify his cabinet and, in particular, warned against the election of Vilsack. Vilsack was criticized for firing Division Officer Shirley Sherrod, who is Black, during his last stint at the USDA, a move he later apologized for.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson warned Biden that Vilsack’s selection could affect black voter turnout in critical Georgia competitions.
« Vilsack could have a disastrous impact on Georgia voters, » NAACP President Derrick Johnson Biden said during the private meeting.
« What I’ve done so far is more than what others have done before, » he added. « I mean what I say. ”
The president-elect has several other cabinet posts and has made history with some of his early decisions. He nominated the retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin became the first black man to head the Pentagon, while selecting California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the first Latino to head the health and human services department. His candidate for U. . S.. . Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai was born in Connecticut to Taiwanese parents.
However, these decisions were announced after African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans raised concerns in Congress that their perspectives may not be fully represented in the new administration. Some candidates will face other hurdles, particularly Austin, who will need a surrender to take on the civilian role of the Pentagon. This is a move that some Democrats have historically rejected.
Biden could further diversify his cabinet by choosing Rep. New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, the first Native American Secretary of the Interior, gave her authority over a powerful agency overseeing the nation’s tribes. However, this would further undermine the wafer-thin Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, which Biden can hardly afford in view of the party’s weak position in the Senate.
It is particularly frustrating that, until Tai’s nomination, no one was of Asian descent in any cabinet secretary position. California Rep. Judy Chu, the chair of the Asia-Pacific Caucus in Congress, said she suggested leadership positions for Asian Americans during the campaign and transition just for last-minute action.
A prominent feature of Biden’s selection so far: deep ties to the Obama administration. This includes former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and former U. . N. . Ambassador and National Security Advisor Susan Rice as Director of the White House Home Affairs Council.
Biden’s team said long government experience is paramount at a time when the country is facing historic pandemic and economic uncertainty. But other Democrats urge him to mix these familiar faces with newer voices.
« We have some people who have been in the cabinet before – there is a role for these people, especially in a crisis like this, they have the knowledge – but it’s important to add voices and raise the next generation of executives, « said Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N. Y. . Also expressed concern that Biden’s list of consultants does not reveal a coherent vision.
« We can argue about whether they are brave enough or ambitious enough, especially given the uncertainty and the type of Senate we will have, » Ocasio-Cortez said. « But other than that, when I see all of these tips put together, I think one of the things I look for is: What is the agenda? What will the overall vision be? »
After a largely centrist major bid won him the nomination for Democratic President, Biden sought to incorporate more progressive priorities into his general election campaign, pledging billions to invest in new green jobs and vastly improving infrastructure to combat climate change.
But some progressive leaders, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Messe. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. They are unlikely to end up in the cabinet as the transition team is concerned about poaching from the ranks of the Senate Democrats. As a result, some activists fear that the government will not keep its election promises to the party’s left flank.
« I think there are some red flags, or in this case some discouraging blue flags, » said Norman Solomon, national director of the progressive activist group RootsAction.
Solomon said progressive groups are ready to organize to try to block the nomination of Biden’s election as director of the Office of Management and Budget, Indian-American Neera Tanden, because of their past antagonism towards Sanders. They also oppose many of Biden’s recommendations from the Democratic establishment, including new senior advisor Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Congressman closely associated with oil and gas companies operating in his energy-rich district.
Brent Colburn, a former Obama administration official who served on multiple agencies, encouraged Democrats to consider the bigger picture when assessing Biden’s cabinet.
« What will ultimately affect the success of the Biden Presidency is his ability to build a team that is qualified, tested and eager to receive advice and advice, » said Colburn. “You have to evaluate these tips in the context of the long game. «
Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Barack Obama, Denis McDonough, United States Senate
World News – AU – Biden’s Challenge: Build a Cabinet That Meets All Its Goals
Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos
Vidéo du jour: