Biden Fills West Wing: 2 Indian-Americans Likely to be in Cabinet
Vivek Murthy and Arun Majumdar are just two among many being considered for strategic top positions.
Although incumbent President Donald Trump is yet to concede defeat in the 2020 US Elections, President-Elect Joe Biden has begun to assemble members that will constitute the West Wing of his White House.
As of now, Biden has confirmed two top roles, naming long-time advisers who will shadow him in the White House.
Within a week after he secured the votes required to win the election, Biden named Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative and most trusted campaign advisor, as his chief of staff.
It was also announced that Jen O'Malley Dillon will join President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration as a deputy chief of staff. O'Malley Dillon was the first woman to lead a winning Democratic presidential race.
The chief and deputy chief of staff are primarily responsible to serve as strategic advisors and provide counsel to the President.
As of 17 November, the Biden Campaign also announced several White House senior staff members, including: Mike Donilon, chief strategist for the Biden campaign; Steve Ricchetti, chairman of the Biden campaign; Dana Remus, general counsel to the Biden campaign; Julie Rodriguez, deputy campaign manager on the Biden campaign; and Annie Tomasini, Biden's traveling chief of staff.
"President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have an ambitious and urgent agenda for action. The team we have already started to assemble will enable us to meet the challenges facing our country on day one," Klain said in a statement announcing the hires.
Each of Biden's Cabinet nominees will need to be confirmed by the US Senate, which is currently dominated by Republicans.
Several top roles in the Cabinet are still up for grabs, with high-ranking candidates being considered for the positions. Here are some likely faces being considered across positions that will surround President-Elect Joe Biden in the White House:
Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President's foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.
Blinken served under the Obama administration as the deputy secretary of state, assistant to the president and principal deputy national security adviser.
He also served as a member of the National Security Council staff at the White House under the Clinton Administration. He was Clinton's chief foreign policy speechwriter.
Blinken has been recently quoted asserting that Biden sees India and the US as "natural partners", adding that the Biden administration would advocate for India to play a leading role in international institutions like the UN Security Council.
Blinken has also asserted that India and the US have a common challenge with reference to China's rising assertiveness in the region.
A longtime Biden ally, Chris Coons presently holds the same Delaware Senate seat that Biden held for decades. Throughout his Senate career, he has garnered a reputation for working across the aisle and forging strong relationships with high-profile Republicans who shared common interests.
Coons has written in the past that the "United States must infuse its relationship with India with a renewed sense of energy and purpose", adding that "the United States could be one of the greatest beneficiaries of India assuming its rightful place as a leading global power."
"India’s democratic model of development presents a stark contrast to China’s authoritarianism for emerging nations in Africa and beyond. And its steady rise into the ranks of great powers offers the prospect of a potent amplifying voice that shares our fundamental value."
Susan Rice was one of a handful of women on Biden's shortlist for a running mate. She served in the Obama administration as UN ambassador and national security adviser. She served in Clinton's administration as the special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs at the White House.
Health and Human Services Secretary
The duties of the Human and Health Services Secretary revolve around human conditions and concerns in the United States. This includes advising the president on matters of health, welfare, and income security programs.
Indian-American Vivek Murthy is a doctor of internal medicine is the co-chair of Biden's coronavirus advisory board announced recently. He has also previously served as the US surgeon general under the Obama Administration.
In April 2017, he resigned at the request of the Trump administration.
Previously serving as the general treasurer of the state, Gina Raimondo is the first woman governor of Rhode Island.
Raimondo was also among the women considered for Biden's running mate.
MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM
Grisham was the first Democratic Latina to be elected governor in the US. Grisham was elected to Congress in 2011 and served three terms representing New Mexico's 1st congressional district.
Secretary of Energy
The Secretary of Energy leads an agency tasked with maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, overseeing the United States' energy supply, carrying out the environmental clean-up, among other pressing concerns.
Indian-American and IIT Bombay Graduate, Majumdar is considered a candidate for the Secretary of Department of Energy. If Biden picks Majumdar, it will not be the first time that he would be serving in as a political nominee at the energy department. The Stanford professor has previously served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy from 2011 to 2012.
Secretary of Labour
The secretary of labour plays a central role in ensuring and furthering the economic security of workers and their families. Regulations enforced by the department ensure that crucial workplace health, safety, and wage and hour laws are upheld.
Bernie Sanders is reaching out to potential supporters in labour to ask for their support as he sets up a campaign for the job, but so far has received a mixed reaction.
Sanders told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that if Biden asked him to join his Cabinet as Labor secretary, he would accept the nomination. "If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would," Sanders said.
A popular progressive, Levin has a background as an organiser with major unions. But he also has credibility with climate activists for having helped create Michigan's Green Jobs Initiative.
Secretary of the Interior
The US Department of the Interior uses manages and sustains America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, responsible for the nation’s tribal nations, and advocates for America’s island communities.
Biden has said he wants an administration that looks like the country. Haaland is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
She would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary if she were to get an offer and accept it.
Secretary of Commerce
The secretary of commerce is responsible for representing US businesses within the President's Cabinet, interacting with communities, businesses, universities, and American workers; promoting economic growth, job creation, and balanced economic development.
Yang is a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who ran with the campaign slogan "MATH," or "Make America Think Harder". His presidential campaign was centred around the idea of universal basic income, and providing every US citizen with $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year.
President-Elect Biden is working towards candidates for these, among other roles, in a political climate wherein Trump is yet to concede defeat in the 2020 election.
This has caused parts of the US government, including the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to withhold resources and briefings from the president-elect's team.
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