UPDATED March 16: Status of Biden’s Cabinet
Tetra Images RF/Getty Images
The White House. Credit: Tetra Images RF/Getty Images

UPDATED March 16: Status of Biden’s Cabinet

One of the first and most important jobs of a new president is to choose a cabinet: the group of advisers and departmental heads that works closely with the president to make policies that affect the whole country.

As he builds his cabinet, President Joe Biden has made an additional promise to the nation: to choose the most diverse cabinet in history. Here, Election Central takes a closer look at the individuals President Biden has selected for some of the most important jobs in America.

Secretary of State

What They Do Leads foreign policy and diplomacy efforts with other nations

Biden’s Choice Antony Blinken, deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under President Obama

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of Defense

What They Do Advises the president on national defense and oversees the U.S. military

Biden’s Choice Retired U.S. Army general Lloyd Austin, who served in the military for 41 years and was head of U.S. Central Command for three years. First African American secretary of defense.

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of the Treasury

What They Do Advises the president on economic policy

Biden’s Choice Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve and chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. First female Treasury Secretary.

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Attorney General

What They Do Serves as the federal government’s top legal adviser

Biden’s Choice Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge. President Obama tried to nominate Garland to a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016.

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of Health and Human Services

What They Do Oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and advises the president on health policy

Biden’s Choice Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general and a former member of Congress

Confirmed by Senate? No

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

What They Do Advises the president on housing policy with the goal of improving housing affordability and accessibility

Biden’s Choice Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Congresswoman and former Ohio mayor, also former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of Agriculture

What They Do Oversees food assistance programs and advises the president on food production and agricultural issues

Biden’s Choice Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor, secretary of agriculture under President Obama, and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

What They Do Advises the president about federal health care and educational services for veterans

Biden’s Choice Denis McDonough, chief of staff under President Obama and Obama’s principal deputy national security adviser

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of Transportation

What They Do Advises the president on transportation matters such as aviation, highways, and railways

Biden’s Choice Pete Buttigieg, former Democratic presidential candidate, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Afghanistan veteran. First openly LGBTQ cabinet member in U.S. history

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Secretary of the Interior

What They Do Oversees federal lands and natural resources, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Biden’s Choice Deb Haaland, current congresswoman from New Mexico. Could be first Native American cabinet member in U.S. history

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Surgeon General

What They Do Advises the president on public health matters

Biden’s Choice Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General under President Obama

Confirmed by Senate? No

Secretary of Homeland Security

What They Do Advises the president on domestic security issues and oversees immigration, border security, cybersecurity, FEMA, and the Coast Guard

Biden’s Choice Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy security of the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama. First immigrant and first Latino to serve as Homeland Security secretary

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Director of National Intelligence

What They Do Leads the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies and organizations

Biden’s Choice Avril Haines, deputy national security adviser under President Obama. First woman to head national intelligence

Confirmed by Senate? Yes

Valerie Cumming

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