Follow More Than 750 Key Government Appointments with the Biden Political Appointee Tracker
By Emma Jones
Every president is responsible for making about 4,000 political appointments, including members of the Cabinet, senior agency leaders, White House staff and lower-level appointments. Despite the importance of these jobs, there is no up-to-date source of information about who holds these positions, which jobs are vacant or the status of Senate confirmations.
To address part of this problem, the Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post launched a webpage in December to track more than 750 of President Joe Biden’s Senate-confirmed political appointments. Positions in the Biden Political Appointee Tracker include Cabinet secretaries, deputy and assistant secretaries, chief financial officers, general counsels, heads of agencies, ambassadors and other critical leadership jobs.
For the first few months of Biden’s term, the Partnership will update the tracker on a daily basis.
Most of the information regarding nominations and the Senate’s confirmation process comes from Congress.gov, the official website for federal legislative information. We also rely on the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” known as the Plum Book, that is published by Congress every four years and includes information about Senate-confirmed positions. We also rely on information on resignations and informal appointee announcements from publicly available sources such as news stories and government websites.
This isn’t the first time the Partnership and The Washington Post have collaborated. In December 2016, we launched a similar tracker to follow the progress of President Donald Trump’s nominees to key Senate-confirmed positions. This tracker provided timely data illustrating how the Senate confirmation process has slowed to a crawl, with the average confirmation taking twice as long under Trump as it did during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. Data on the Trump administration appointees will remain accessible.
The Partnership recommends presidents fill the top 100 Senate-confirmed positions by the end of April – if not sooner – with an additional 300 to 400 by the August recess. By Inauguration Day, the Biden transition team had announced 52 nominees for Senate-confirmed positions – more than each of the previous three presidents. Now, it is the Senate’s responsibility to expedite confirmation of qualified nominees.
For the next four years, the Biden Political Appointee Tracker will serve as an important accountability tool to keep the public informed about the status of important, Senate-confirmed government jobs.