The new faces of Biden’s Cabinet

By Elliott Nguyen
Staff Writer

The Senate is unveiling nominees for President Joseph Biden’s Cabinet, set to become the most diverse Cabinet in United States history. 


Vice President Kamala Harris

(Photo: Senate Historical Office)

Kamala Devi Harris was sworn into office alongside President Biden on Jan. 20. Born Oct. 20, 1964 to Shyamala Gopalan and Donald J. Harris, she is both the first Black vice president and Asian vice president. She succeeds Mike Pence.

Prior to becoming vice president, Harris was known for serving as a senator of California from 2017 to 2021. Prior to that, she served as the state’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017.

Harris is a vocal supporter of strict Covid-19 protocols. During the Iowa Democratic Party Liberty and Justice Event in October, she said “Under (Biden’s) leadership we’re going to contain this virus, save lives and build our economy back better than ever before.”

Though Harris is a supporter of police and justice reform, her press secretary, Sabrina Singh, confirmed that “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do not support defunding the police,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Harris has called for stronger gun control, including universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken

(Photo: U.S. Department of State)

Antony John Blinken assumed office Jan. 26. He was born April 16, 1962 to Judith and Donald M. Blinken and is Jewish. He succeeds Mike Pompeo.Blinken held several positions during the Obama administration, including deputy national security advisor from 2013 to 2015 and deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017.

With years of experience in foreign policy, one of Blinken’s notable stances is his belief in the value of America’s alliances with other countries. Since his confirmation as secretary of state, he has spoken with representatives from Japan, Mexico, Canada and South Korea. 

Blinken agrees with withdrawing troops from Middle Eastern military conflicts, though his and Biden’s strategy differs from that of the Trump administration. “We also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with the large-scale, open-ended deployment of U.S. forces with, for example, discrete, small-scale, sustainable operations, maybe led by Special Forces to support local actors,” Blinken said.

Like Biden, Blinken supports the continuation of America’s close ties with Israel, and claims the Biden administration will consult the country in pursuing the denuclearization of Iran, according to the Times of Israel. 

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen

(Photo: Official Federal Reserve)

Janet Louise Yellen assumed office on Jan. 26. Born Aug. 13, 1946 to Anna Ruth and Julius Yellen, the Polish-Jewish economist is the first woman to be the U.S. secretary of the treasury. She succeeds Steven Mnuchin.

Prior to serving as the U.S. secretary of the treasury, she was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and was the first woman to hold that role as well. Additionally, she served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010.

She believes in stronger government regulation to help the economy function properly.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

Lloyd James Austin III assumed office on Jan. 22. He was born on Aug. 8, 1953 to Aletia Taylor Austin and Lloyd Austin Sr. He is the first Black secretary of defense, succeeding Mark Esper.

He previously served as the 12th commander of United States Central Command, also the first Black person to do so. In 2016, he retired at the rank of general from a 41-year career with the U.S. military.

Federal law requires former military members to have been retired for at least seven years to be eligible to serve as the U.S. secretary of defense. However, he was granted a congressional waiver to serve, as was James Mattis in 2017 and George Marshall in 1947.

On Jan. 27, he issued a statement pledging to support President Biden’s efforts to “include climate considerations as an essential element of our national security,” citing the impact environmental issues have had on operations in the past.

Awaiting Confirmation:

Attorney General Merrick Garland

Merrick Brian Garland was born Nov. 13, 1952 to Shirley and Cyril Garland. He is currently awaiting confirmation from the Senate. If confirmed, he will succeed Monty Wilkinson who has served in an acting capacity since President Biden’s inauguration.

Currently, Garland serves as a circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a position he has held since 1997.

On Jan. 26, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and 46 other lawmakers wrote a letter urging Garland to abolish the death penalty should he be confirmed.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland

Debra Anne Haaland was born Dec. 2, 1960 to Mary Toya and Major J. D. Haaland. She is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo. If confirmed, she will succeed David Bernhardt and…

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