The White House has reportedly begun preparations for the possible turnover of President Joe Biden's 25-member Cabinet, along with other administration positions, after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Based on its conversation with an administration official, Axios reports that Ron Klain, White House chief of staff, has tasked Jeff Zients and Natalie Quillian — two former White House officials — to oversee the search for new administration-level talent.
Zients and Quillian will consider candidates that likely require Senate confirmation; and this process could be even more challenging, if Republicans take control of a Senate chamber that is currently deadlocked at 50-all.
According to Axios, 23 of the 25 Cabinet positions require Senate confirmation. The only exceptions are Vice President Kamala Harris and the White House chief of staff (Klain).
Politifact.com reports it's common for presidents to encounter Cabinet turnover after the midterm elections, even with deputy roles.
"There's probably a fair amount of job satisfaction," Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Axios.
Zients and Quillian will report to Presidential Personnel Office Director Gautam Raghavan, according to Axios, and work closely with Klain on candidates who could potentially fit with members of Congress, local and state governments, public companies and private businesses.
As part of their interim duties with the White House (special government employees), Axios reports neither Zients nor Quillian will receive any compensation.
Before leaving the White House, Zients served as co-chair of the Biden transition team. After that, Zients became the administration's COVID-19 response coordinator.
Quillian was previously deputy commissioner of the same COVID-19 response team.
Unlike previous administrations, the Biden White House hasn't had a lot of high-level turnover since taking office in January 2021.
"The lack of turnover is really good, not just for Biden and his appointees, but for the departments and the civil servants that work in those departments. It enables the president to enact their programs," Tenpas said.
She added: "Bringing in former staff to support PPO [Presidential Personnel Office] — that strikes me as something new."
Biden's current Cabinet includes:
VP Harris, COS Klain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Also, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, SBA Administrator Izabel Guzman, Budget Director Shalanda Young and Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.
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