Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will begin naming members of his Cabinet this week, appointing experts with deep foreign policy experience to key posts in line with his pledge to restore America’s global ties and standing as a world leader.
Some of the expected appointees also reflect Biden’s promise to build an administration that reflects the diversity of the United States. He will announce the first of his Cabinet picks on Tuesday, according to incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Here are some recent important picks and top contenders for prominent positions, according to Reuters reporting.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Antony Blinken – Biden could name Blinken secretary of state as early as Tuesday, sources close to Biden say. Blinken is a longtime Biden confidant who served as No. 2 at the State Department and as deputy national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, in which Biden served as vice president.
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
Jake Sullivan – The likely choice of Blinken as secretary of state leaves Sullivan as Biden’s top choice for U.S. national security adviser, a source told Reuters. Sullivan served as Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration and also as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS
Linda Thomas-Greenfield – Thomas-Greenfield is the leading contender for the job of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, media outlets reported Sunday, citing Democratic sources close to Biden. She is a Black woman who served as Obama’s top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017, leading U.S. policy in sub-Saharan Africa during the West African Ebola outbreak.
Biden said last week he has chosen a treasury secretary and will announce the pick by Thursday’s U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
Janet Yellen – The former Fed chair is believed to be the top candidate for Treasury Secretary in Democratic and monetary policy circles. She deepened the central bank’s focus on workers and inequality and has remained active in policy debates at the Brookings Institution think-tank since Republican President Donald Trump replaced her as head of the central bank in 2018.
Lael Brainard – She is a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and a former undersecretary for international affairs during the 2009 global financial crisis. Brainard has voted against regulatory rollbacks on banks but could face criticism from liberals who want a less moderate choice.
Sarah Bloom Raskin – She formerly served as a Fed governor and deputy Treasury secretary, the only woman so far to hold the second-in-command role at the agency. A lawyer and former state financial regulator in Maryland, she has worked in finance, and currently serves as a director with Vanguard, the investment giant with $6 trillion in assets under management.
Michele Flournoy – She is the consensus front-runner for the job, which would make her the first woman to lead the Pentagon. Flournoy served as a top Defense Department official in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, advised Biden’s campaign on defense issues and co-founded a consulting firm with Blinken.
Tammy Duckworth – The U.S. senator from Illinois, who was considered as a possible Biden running mate, lost both her legs when her helicopter came under fire while she was an Army officer in Iraq in 2004. Duckworth was an assistant secretary of veterans affairs under Obama and would be the first Thai-American member of the Cabinet.
Sally Yates – A former deputy attorney general, Yates was briefly the acting attorney general early in Trump’s term before being fired for insubordination for refusing to defend travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.
Doug Jones – A former federal prosecutor with a strong civil rights record, he won a U.S. Senate seat in a 2017 special election in deeply conservative Alabama. Jones was defeated this year by Republican Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach.
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall – A former adviser to Biden when he was in the U.S. Senate, she served in the Obama administration as deputy secretary of energy, where she led an initiative to address cyber and physical challenges to the power grid. Sherwood-Randall is now a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Arun Majumdar – He was the first director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s agency that promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technologies, and also served as acting undersecretary of energy from March 2011 to June 2012. He also worked at Alphabet Inc’s Google as vice president for energy before joining Stanford University’s faculty.
Jay Inslee – He focused on climate change during his failed presidential bid in 2019, but was re-elected to a third term as governor of Washington state this year. Inslee has been pushed for consideration in the Cabinet by environmental activists given his efforts to pass a carbon tax and clean-fuels standard.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Heather McTeer Toney – A former regional administrator of the EPA under Obama, the clean-air activist is national field director for Moms Clean Air Force. A favorite of progressives, Toney has advocated and trained diverse officials on leadership and climate in over 15 countries including Kenya, France, Portugal, Nigeria and Senegal.
Mary Nichols – The former assistant administrator for the EPA during Clinton’s administration is chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board, which regulates air pollution in the state.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Michael Morell – He was the CIA’s deputy director and acting director of the agency twice under Obama. Morell is now the chairman of the geopolitical risk practice at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington consulting firm.
Avril Haines – She was the deputy national security adviser under Obama, and previously the first woman to serve as CIA deputy director. Haines held several posts at Columbia University after leaving the Obama administration in 2017.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Vivek Murthy – A physician and former surgeon general, Murphy has gained prominence in recent months as co-chairman of Biden’s advisory board on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which the president-elect has pledged to make his top priority on taking office.
Mandy Cohen – A physician who serves as the secretary of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Department, where she has been a major advocate for expanding Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income Americans. Cohen served as the chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration.
David Kessler – The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has been a co-chair of Biden’s advisory board on the coronavirus pandemic. As head of the FDA, Kessler cut the time needed to approve drugs to treat AIDS and moved to try to regulate the tobacco industry.
Alejandro Mayorkas – A Cuban-American lawyer, he would be the first Latino to head the department. As head of Citizenship and Immigration Services under Obama, he led implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) for so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the United States illegally as children. DACA drew Republican criticism and could lead to Republican opposition in the Senate if he is nominated.
Xavier Becerra – The former congressman succeeded Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as California attorney general, where he has won praise at times from progressives, and also could be considered to replace her in the U.S. Senate.
Lisa Monaco – The former Biden aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she worked on the Violence Against Women Act, was also a top adviser on homeland security to Obama. Monaco served as an assistant attorney general for national security, and chief of staff to former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
CHIEF OF STAFF
Ron Klain – A longtime Biden adviser with experience in responding to the Ebola pandemic, Klain was picked for the chief of staff role that sets the president’s agenda.