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How The Senate Democratic Majority Put In Place President Biden’s Historic Team In The First 100 Days

New York Times: Fulfilling a Promise: A Cabinet That ‘Looks Like America.’ Time: The Historical Significance of Deb Haaland Becoming the First Native American Cabinet Secretary The Hill: Record Number Of Women To Serve In Biden Cabinet

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In their shared first 100 days, President Biden and the new Senate Democratic Majority have followed through on President Biden’s commitment to “build an administration that looks like America”  – making the people’s government reflect the rich diversity that is our strength as a nation.

Senate Democrats pulled together and delivered big in the first 100 days. Even facing the pressing demands of an impeachment trial and two Senate vote-a-ramas to get the American Rescue Plan across the finish line before unemployment insurance expired for millions of Americans, delivering much-needed aid to millions of families, the Senate was able to confirm every single one of President Biden’s cabinet secretaries – on a bipartisan basis – by March 22, 2021 – faster than in either of the previous two administrations.

As Majority Leader Schumer said this week, “Now more than ever before, we have a cabinet that looks like America.” And in addition to President Biden’s Cabinet Secretaries, the Senate has confirmed numerous historic and highly qualified top officials to lead critical parts of the Biden-Harris administration within the first 100 days.

A History-Making Government: The Senate Confirms Barrier-Breaking Nominees


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People: Lloyd Austin, Avril Haines and Janet Yellen Make History Being Confirmed for Biden’s Cabinet. “Several of President Joe Biden's Cabinet or Cabinet-level choices made history with their confirmations, days into his new administration. Janet Yellen was confirmed as the first female treasury secretary on Monday, days after the Senate confirmations of Avril Haines, the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence, and retired four-star Gen. Lloyd Austin as the first Black secretary of Defense.” [People, 1/26/21]


Washington Post: Senate confirms Janet Yellen as first female treasury secretary. “Yellen’s confirmation as the first female treasury secretary follows a career of firsts. In 1971, Yellen was the only woman in her class to receive an economics PhD from Yale University. She was also the only female economics professor for part of her time teaching at Harvard University. That record has inspired generations of female economists in Washington and within the profession itself. Now, as the pandemic disproportionately pulls women from the workforce, in large part because of child-care issues, economists say Yellen’s credentials, and the symbolism of her confirmation, are a timely match.” [Washington Post, 1/25/21]


USA Today: Alejandro Mayorkas becomes first Latino, first immigrant to lead Department of Homeland Security. “Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday and will become the first immigrant and first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security. […] Mayorkas arrived in the USA from Cuba in 1960 with his parents as refugees from Fidel Castro's regime. He has been deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and headed its citizenship agency.” [USA Today, 2/2/21]


NPR: Lloyd Austin Confirmed As Defense Secretary, Becomes 1st Black Pentagon Chief. “Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history. The Senate approved President Biden's nomination for Pentagon chief in a near-unanimous 93-2 vote Friday.” [NPR, 1/22/21]

New York Times: Deb Haaland Becomes First Native American Cabinet Secretary. “Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico made history on Monday when the Senate confirmed her as President Biden’s secretary of the Interior, making her the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency. Ms. Haaland in 2018 became one of the first two Native American women elected to the House. But her new position is particularly redolent of history because the department she now leads has spent much of its history abusing or neglecting America’s Indigenous people.” [New York Times, 3/15/21]


The Root: Marcia Fudge Confirmed as First Black Woman to Lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 40 Years. “Fudge’s appointment and confirmation make her the first Black woman to lead the embattled agency in 40 years. Fudge, who entered Congress in 2008, won bipartisan approval to lead the embattled agency where the morale among civil servants had plummeted under the leadership of Ben Carson, who eviscerated fair housing enforcement and other civil rights protections during the Trump administration.” [The Root, 3/10/21]


ABC News: Pete Buttigieg makes history as 1st openly gay Cabinet member confirmed by Senate. “Former 2020 presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has made history as the first openly gay Cabinet member in U.S. history to be confirmed by the Senate. At age 39, Buttigieg also represents another "first" as a millennial and the youngest person nominated to Biden's Cabinet.” [ABC News, 2/2/21]


USA Today: Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as first Latino Secretary of Health and Human Services. “The Senate narrowly confirmed Xavier Becerra to be Health and Human Services secretary on a 50-49 vote Thursday. Becerra, California's Attorney General, will be the first Latino to hold the Cabinet position.” [USA Today, 3/18/21]


Wall Street Journal:  Avril Haines Becomes First Woman Director of National Intelligence. “Avril Haines is the first woman to become director of national intelligence, a job that oversees 18 intelligence agencies and units, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, which employ hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/20/21]


Reuters:  Katherine Tai confirmed by Senate as first woman of color to be U.S. trade chief. “The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted unanimously to confirm veteran government trade lawyer Katherine Tai as the first woman of color to serve as U.S. Trade Representative, putting her to work enforcing trade deals, confronting China’s trade practices and patching up ties with U.S. allies.” [Reuters, 3/17/21]


Roll Call: Brenda Mallory to take environmental policy in a new direction. “Brenda Mallory’s supporters say her decades of environmental law experience qualify her as the best choice to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. But she also brings a new perspective to the role as the first African American to hold the position, one shaped by her humble beginnings in Waterbury, Conn.” [Roll Call, 4/22/21]


New York Times:  Senate confirms Cecilia Rouse as the first Black chair of White House economic council. “The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University economist, as the chair of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, making her the first Black leader of C.E.A. in its 75-year history. The final vote was 95 to 4.” [New York Times, 3/2/21]


Politico: Kathleen Hicks is Biden’s pick to be first female deputy Defense secretary. “President-elect Joe Biden has picked Kathleen Hicks, a former Pentagon official under President Obama, to serve as deputy secretary of defense. If confirmed, she would make history as the first woman to hold the No. 2 Pentagon job.” [Politico, 12/30/21]


USA Today: Michael Regan confirmed by Senate as first Black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. “The Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, making the state regulator the first Black man to be administrator of the agency. […] The North Carolinian will lead the agency in an administration that has promised to aggressively fight against climate change and environmental injustice.” [USA Today, 3/10/21]


Washington Post: Rachel Levine, historic transgender nominee, confirmed as assistant health secretary. “The Senate on Wednesday voted 52 to 48 to confirm Rachel Levine as the nation’s assistant secretary for health, making her the highest-ranking openly transgender official in U.S. history. All Democrats and independents voted to support Levine, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) crossing the aisle to support her, prompting cheers from advocates who called the vote a breakthrough.” [Washington Post, 3/24/21]


Black Enterprise: Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo To Be Deputy Treasury Secretary In Historic White House Appointment. “Another appointment to Biden’s team is Nigerian-born Adewale Adeyemo, the new Deputy Treasury Secretary. Adeyemo will work with Janet Yellen, the nominee for Treasury Secretary. Adeyemo will be the first Black person to serve in the role.” [Black Enterprise, 12/1/20]


The Wire: Vanita Gupta Becomes First Indian-American To Be Associate Attorney General. “Prominent Indian-American civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta has been confirmed by the US Senate as associate attorney general, making her the first person of colour to occupy the third-highest position at the Department of Justice.” [The Wire, 4/21/21]


A Cabinet That Looks Like America


ABC News:  Biden Cabinet picks feature record number of women and women of color. “Twelve of Biden's nominations for Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions are women, including eight women of color, and if they're all confirmed it would shatter former President Bill Clinton's record of nine women serving concurrently, which happened during his second term.” [ABC News, 1/23/21]


NPR: Biden Pledged Historic Cabinet Diversity. Here's How His Nominees Stack Up. “President Biden pledged to make his Cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, better representing the makeup of the country. An NPR analysis of the past three administrations' initial Cabinets shows that so far, he has kept his word, with an inner circle that outdoes his two most recent predecessors in matters of representation of race and gender.” [NPR, 2/5/21]


Fortune: 3 women in Biden’s cabinet are going to boost the post-COVID recovery. “Despite the gains that women have made in the past two congressional elections, there is still a 24-point gap between the percentage of women in the U.S. population and the percentage of women in Congress. That gap, however, does not exist among President Biden’s cabinet nominees, half of whom are women.” [Fortune, 3/21/21]


The Hill:  Record number of women to serve in Biden Cabinet. “A record number of women are slated to serve in President Biden’s Cabinet, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). A tally by the political unit, which operates out of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, shows that 12 women are slated to serve in Cabinet-level positions in the new administration — the highest number in American history.” [The Hill, 1/20/21]