Publications

From Reagan to Biden: Documents Showing the History of Inaugurations

January 14, 2021

Publication Type: Commentary,Research and Publications

Every four years, Inauguration Day has served as a symbol of the country’s commitment to democracy and a smooth transfer of power. Since George Washington was inaugurated in 1789, the list of traditions surrounding this monumental day has grown. This year, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on the West Front Terrace of the...

Pace of Nominations: How Does Biden Compare With Previous Presidents?

January 14, 2021

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Presidents are responsible for about 4,000 political appointments, about 1,250 of which require Senate confirmation. They must also staff the White House. This memo includes a comparison of how Biden’s pace of announcements compares with the previous three presidents. For a detailed list of the nominees and their statuses, see the Biden Political Appointee Tracker...

Appointments and Transition

January 5, 2021

Publication Type: Research and Publications

This slide deck, based on research from the Center for Presidential Transition, highlights challenges and trends in the Senate confirmation process.

The Precedent for Pre-Inaugural Hearings

December 16, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Publication Tags: Appointees,Congress

Pre-inaugural hearings help ensure that a new president’s team is confirmed quickly and are ready to govern on day one. These hearings are traditionally granted to nominees for senior Cabinet positions and are essential at the start of a new administration.

Pre-Inaugural Nominee Announcements: Trump-Clinton

December 16, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

The last four presidents announced 115 nominees for Senate-confirmed positions prior to taking office. Among these, 71, including 49 out of 56 Cabinet nominees, received pre-inauguration hearings. Only eight nominations by four presidents were withdrawn. This document contains tables listing each announcement sorted by president, along with key dates and speed of confirmation for each...

Presidentially Appointed Positions

December 16, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

One of the most significant tasks for any president is staffing their administration. A president is responsible for about 4,000 political appointments, 1,200 of which require Senate confirmation. This document puts those numbers into context by providing a breakdown of the number of positions in key agencies, and the number of Senate confirmed appointments and...

Senate Traditionally Confirms First Cabinet Secretaries Within Days of Inauguration

December 4, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Having Cabinet positions filled by Senate-confirmed appointees benefits new administrations – and more importantly, the country – by enabling presidents to hit the ground running, especially during times of crisis. An examination of the last four incoming presidents shows that each announced most of their desired Cabinet secretaries during their transition, and the Senate generally...

We’ve Done This Before: Presidential Transitions During a Time of Crisis

November 30, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Previous experiences can inform the work of the current presidential transition facing today’s unique challenges. This report includes eight recommendations for a president-elect’s transition team and an outgoing White House based on interviews with veterans of previous transitions and other experts.

A Late Start to a Transition Can Delay Filling Key Leadership Positions Critical for the American People

November 17, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Further delays by the General Services Administration in recognizing the outcome of the Nov. 3 election could impede the ability of President-elect Joe Biden to make timely and critical appointments for key COVID-19 and national security-related positions, thereby weakening the government’s ability to protect our nation and distribute life-saving vaccines. 

Summary of the Presidential Records Act

November 13, 2020

Publication Type: Research and Publications

Publication Tags: National Archives and Records Administration

The Presidential Records Act outlines requirements regarding the maintenance, access and preservation of presidential and vice-presidential information during and after a presidency. The act states that presidential records are the property of the United States and must be preserved in perpetuity.