Monday, November 28, 2022
HomePoliticsBiden administration political appointees: Who is filling key roles

Biden administration political appointees: Who is filling key roles


About this story

The tracker is maintained by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan good-governance organization. Researchers at the Partnership for Public Service follow presidential and congressional actions on approximately 800 top executive branch positions, a portion of the roughly 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation.

What positions are included and not included?

The tracker includes all full-time, civilian positions in the executive branch that require Senate confirmation except for judges, marshals and U.S. attorneys. Military appointments and part-time positions requiring Senate confirmation are not included.

Biden has opted to keep some officials appointed by previous administrations in place. There are other officials who were confirmed during previous administrations for fixed periods of time and continue to serve because their terms have not expired.

The tracker does not show officials serving in an acting capacity, so positions unfilled by Biden are not necessarily vacant. All presidents appoint some temporary officials to Senate-confirmed positions to preserve continuity during transitions between one confirmed official and another. While acting officials for high-profile positions are often widely reported, temporary officials for lesser known positions are often not reported publicly — or are done so inconsistently.

The numbers in the tracker capture non-concurrent positions. For example, a nomination to be the ambassador of the General Assembly of the UN and a separate nomination to be the representative of the U.S. in the UN Security Council are considered a single nomination.

How often is the tracker updated?

The tracker will be updated weekly on Mondays as positions are considered and filled.

How does the nomination process work?

Presidents formally nominate individuals to the Senate to fill each position, a responsibility established in the Constitution. The Senate refers most nominations to a specific committee with jurisdiction over the position. Committees scrutinize the nominees and hold hearings to discuss their views, qualifications and histories. After the hearing, committees usually take a vote on whether to report out the nomination favorably, unfavorably or without recommendation. Or they can vote to take no action on the nomination.

A nomination generally goes to the full Senate for a final vote if a majority of the committee votes favorably, but this isn’t required to get a final vote. Many nominations are approved through a unanimous consent agreement that limits debate and speeds up the process. For nominees subject to a vote, a simple majority is necessary to win confirmation. The Senate has rules that allow for individual senators to voice concerns about the nomination process.

Most nominations that go to the Senate are ultimately successful. However, some do not receive a Senate vote, either because their nominations are withdrawn by the president, or because the Senate calendar year ends before a vote takes place. By law, nominations not confirmed by the end of the year are automatically withdrawn, and the president must resubmit them to be considered again the following congressional session.

Where does the information recorded in the appointee tracker come from?

Most of the information regarding nominations and the Senate’s process comes from Congress.gov, the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. Information about Senate-confirmed positions generally comes from the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” known as the Plum Book, published by Congress every four years. However, each administration may add new positions and organizations, or change position titles. The tracker reflects those changes when they are made public.

Information on resignations and informal appointee announcements comes from publicly available sources such as news stories and government websites. The government does not publish any single, up-to-date source of information on the status of these positions. In some cases, public information on the status of certain officials or positions is inconsistent or nonexistent. The information provided in this tracker is based on the best publicly available details.

Is it possible that the tracker is missing a nominee or update?

There’s a slight chance. The Partnership for Public Service and The Post have staff members and processes devoted to following nomination and confirmation developments. However, the federal government does not have a uniform method of reporting appointee employment statuses, and occasionally, a change will occur with little or no media coverage. It is possible changes will occur that are not yet identified in the tracker, especially for lower-profile positions. If you think something is missing that should be included, please contact tracker@ourpublicservice.org.

Credits

Research by Carlos Galina, Mary-Courtney Murphy and Anthony Vetrano. Research management by Paul Hitlin. Database management and development by Mark Pruce. Previous contributions by Zoe Brouns, Christina Condreay, Drew Flanagan and Mikayla Hyman. Design and development by Harry Stevens, Madison Walls and Adrián Blanco. Editing by Kevin Uhrmacher. Copy editing by Melissa Ngo.

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