Biden will announce first Cabinet picks on Tuesday, chief of staff Klain says

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden removes his face mask as he meets with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at his transition headquarters in the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 20, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

President-elect Joe Biden will announce cabinet appointments on Tuesday, incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain confirmed on Sunday.

“If you want to know what cabinet agencies they are, who’s going to be in those Cabinet agencies, you’ll have to wait for the president-elect to say that himself on Tuesday,” Klain said in an interview with ABC News.

The President-elect already announced the members of his coronavirus task force before naming any senior White House staff members. Last week, Biden said he’s decided whom he will nominate for Treasury Secretary and will make the announcement around Thanksgiving.

Likely candidates for Treasury secretary include economist Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve. Either would be the first woman to serve in the role. Roger Ferguson, the CEO of TIAA and another top contender, would be the first Black person to hold the office.

Biden said the Treasury pick will be “accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party,” though the former vice president’s staffing decisions will likely be criticized as he weighs demands of the party’s progressive base and a potentially divided Senate.

Jennifer Psaki, a senior adviser to the Biden transition team, said on Sunday in a CNN interview that the president-elect “wants to have a diversity of voices at the table.”

Asked if the Biden cabinet will have more progressive members than President Barack Obama’s first Cabinet, Psaki said Biden’s team will “look like America” in terms of diversity and background.

Biden’s move to announce cabinet picks and push forward with the presidential transitions comes as President Donald Trump still refuses to concede to the Nov. 3 election, even after the Trump campaign’s legal challenges were struck down in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

The General Services Administration has yet to ascertain Biden’s win, effectively blocking Biden’s team from receiving government resources typically provided to help with the presidential transition, like intelligence briefings and a distribution plan for a coronavirus vaccine.

Klain said Trump’s claims of voter fraud and litigation over the race are “corrosive” and “harmful,” but emphasized that his actions won’t change the outcome of the election. However, he said it’s blocking Biden’s ability to build out a new government and receive background checks on cabinet nominees.

“Our transition isn’t getting access to agency officials to help develop our plans, and there’s a lot of focus on that vaccine rollout plan that’s going to be critical in the early days of a Biden presidency,” Klain said. “We have no access to that … We’re not in a position to get background checks on cabinet nominees.”

“There are definite impacts,” Klain added. “Those impacts escalate every day, and I hope that the administrator of the GSA will do her job.”

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