The New Presidential Team: Biden & Harris

2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but the new year is bringing new (and hopefully better) beginnings! On Inauguration Day, 46th President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office. President Biden and Vice President Harris are ready to take action, along with their new team.

President Biden had most of his cabinet and team selected before he was in office. Many of these appointed cabinet members were part of the Obama Administration during Mr. Biden’s vice presidency. He swore in the new recruits for his team over a very large Zoom call. The White House stated that “nearly doubled the number of staff ready to start … than either Trump did in 2017 or Obama in 2009.”

This comes as a stark contrast to the last inauguration and administration, as there was a delay in appointing cabinet members, with many seats never appointed. President Biden’s significant experience in government, which goes back to the 1970’s, is likely a factor in the efficiency in onboarding the new administration. President Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years and was the Vice President for 8 years, whereas former President Trump had a lack of experience in government.

Below are some of the notable cabinet members appointed by Biden:

Antony Blinken is the Secretary of State. His history with President Biden goes back to former President Obama’s term, where Blinken served as the National Security Advisor to the then-Vice President, Joe Biden. After that, he served as the U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for two years and the U.S. Secretary of State for the following two years.

Janet Yellen is the Secretary of the Treasury, and the first female to hold that position. She’s a Yale graduate from 1971, who was the only woman of two dozen students to receive her Ph.D in economics. She went on to be a professor at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley. Yellen served as the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve and the (first female) Chair of the Federal Reserve.

Lloyd Austin is the Secretary of Defense and the first African-American person to hold that position. He’s a retired U.S. Army general, who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Austin was also the Army Vice Chief of Staff and commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

Merrick Garland is the Attorney General. He attended Harvard University and graduated in 1974 and Harvard Law for three more years, graduating in 1977. In March 1997, Garland became the Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and still is today. He was also the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2013 to 2020. In February 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. President Obama nominated Garland to become the next Supreme Court Justice, but Senate Majority Leader at the time, Republican Mitch McConnell would not consider. McConnell said that the Supreme Court nomination should be put forth by the next President. The Senate didn’t go further with the nomination and now, Garland is soon to take office as Attorney General.

Some of these appointees are the first in history. As a whole, they seem to be a far more experienced group than the last administration, which gives us all hope in these uncertain times. In addition, President Biden also put together a task force in his first week in office to address the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been very efficient through the change of power and for the sake of all Americans, let’s hope he can lead us to better days ahead.