Several House Democrats are in the running for positions in President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates ‘Joe Biden Way’ to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans ‘either in complete lockstep’ or ‘afraid’ of Trump MORE’s Cabinet as he seeks to prioritize diversity and policy acumen in his incoming administration.
The contenders hailing from the House range from the potential first Native American Cabinet secretary to numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
At least one current House member, Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondSunday shows – Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Richmond says GOP ‘reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes’ Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight MORE (D-La.), is slated to join the White House as a senior advisor and director of the Office of Public Engagement.
After losing several House seats in this year’s elections, Democrats are wary of any potentially costly special elections and are keen to limit any vacancies to safely blue districts.
Biden on Monday unveiled his first round of Cabinet nominees for his national security team, including Antony Blinken to serve as secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Homeland Security secretary; Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence; Linda Thomas-Greenfield to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor. More are expected in the coming days.
Here are five House Democrats currently being floated for additional roles in the Biden administration.
Deb HaalandDebra HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Pence, Biden wage tug of war over pandemic plans MORE (N.M.)
No House lawmaker has more momentum to land a spot in a Biden Cabinet right now than Haaland. If selected, she would make history as the first Native American in a presidential Cabinet.
Grassroots progressive groups like Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement have been aggressively lobbying Biden to pick her as his Interior secretary. And House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) dropped out of consideration for the Interior post and threw his support behind Haaland, his committee’s vice chair.
The well-respected chairman and progressive leader last week circulated a letter among his House colleagues urging Biden to tap Haaland at Interior. More than 50 Democrats signed on, including incoming Assistant Speaker Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it’s her last Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE (D-Mass.); Rep. Grace MengGrace MengKatherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.), a top Democratic party official; and a handful of Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members.
Haaland’s allies have been playing up the historic nature of her potential appointment. In 2018, Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, was one of the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress. If Biden nominates her for Interior, she will make history once again.
“Representative Deb Haaland is eminently qualified to be Interior Secretary. She has been a champion for our environment and public lands and has worked tirelessly to improve the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and Indian tribes,” Halaand’s Democratic colleagues wrote. “By selecting her to be your Secretary of the Interior, you can make history by giving Native Americans a seat at the Cabinet table for the first time.”
Haaland, a former New Mexico Democratic Party chair, has already been on Biden’s radar. Transition officials are already in the process of vetting her, sources told The Hill.
Other lawmakers under consideration for Interior include two other New Mexico Democrats: retiring Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior Secretary | Progressive group slams Biden White House pick over tie to fossil fuel industry | Green groups sue over Arctic drilling plans Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior secretary MORE, whose father was Interior secretary in the 1960s, and Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichHouse Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior Secretary | Progressive group slams Biden White House pick over tie to fossil fuel industry | Green groups sue over Arctic drilling plans Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior secretary MORE.
Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Five actions Biden should take to build a more humane food system MORE (Ohio)
Fudge, a former CBC chairwoman, has been floated as a potential candidate for Agriculture secretary. She is currently the fourth most-senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and chairs a subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations with jurisdiction over programs to combat hunger like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Fudge has openly expressed interest in leading the Agriculture Department and, if selected, would be the first Black woman to serve in the role.
“If Rep. Fudge is asked to serve as Agriculture Secretary she would be honored to do so,” a Fudge spokesperson told The Hill.
To date, only one Black person — Mike Espy, who recently ran for Senate in Mississippi — has served as Agriculture secretary in the department’s history.
Other Democrats in the mix for the Agriculture post include Rep. Chellie PingreeRochelle (Chellie) PingreeBiden leads Trump by 11 points in Maine: survey Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for ‘Will on the Hill…or Won’t They?’ USDA commits to trade aid for lobster industry using coronavirus coffers MORE (Maine) and former Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Five actions Biden should take to build a more humane food system MORE (N.D.).
Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican ‘Squad’ called ‘The Force’ Florida Democrat breaks down loss: ‘It’s not just about socialism’ GOP sees path to House majority in 2022 MORE (Fla.)
Shalala is out of a job following her surprise loss this month to Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, a former television anchor.
That’s why Shalala, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton for eight years, has been mentioned as a potential Biden Cabinet pick in recent days. Some have floated her for Education secretary, given her 14 years as president of the University of Miami (Florida) after her stint with Clinton.
It’s unclear how serious the Biden transition team is taking Shalala, who is 79. Biden himself turned 78 on Friday, and will become the oldest president on Inauguration Day; and he’s expected to look to a younger generation of leaders to fill out his team.
“I would suspect it’s far-fetched. Why not nominate a much younger person for all the obvious reasons?” said one of Shalala’s House colleagues.
Still, Shalala would bring much-needed healthcare and management experience to the new administration at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on K-12 schools and universities across the nation. While she hasn’t ruled out a bid for her old House seat in 2022, Shalala, who has known Biden for decades, also could be tapped for some senior role on Biden’s coronavirus task force.
“She’s enormously qualified and we’d be lucky to have her in any capacity but especially in healthcare and education, where she’s been a leader,” said a source close to Shalala.
Other House members floated for Education secretary include another Florida Democrat, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonLobbying world Harris calls it ‘outrageous’ Trump downplayed coronavirus House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys MORE, a former elementary school principal and Miami-Dade County school board member; and Rep. Jahana HayesJahana HayesGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Bustos tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Conn.), the 2016 National Teacher of the Year. Both are Black Caucus members.
Hayes told The Hill that she’s “honored” to be considered for secretary but that she has “a lot more work to do here” in Congress.
Karen BassKaren Ruth BassPressure grows on California governor to name Harris replacement Why it’s time for a majority female Cabinet Porter raises .2 million in third quarter MORE (Calif.)
Bass’s profile shot up this year as chairwoman of the CBC while leading House Democrats’ efforts to pass a police reform bill. Her prospects for higher office are also rising.
Bass has been floated for multiple roles in a Biden administration, including Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She’s also in the mix to fill a soon-to-be-vacant California Senate seat once Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania election challenge Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win MORE (D-Calif.) becomes vice president.
A spokesperson for Bass didn’t return a request for comment. But Bass, a former Speaker of the California state assembly who once worked as a physician assistant, was previously vetted this summer as a potential vice presidential candidate. That role ultimately went to Harris, but the Biden team is already familiar with Bass’s resume.
Other prospects for HHS include New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamFavorites emerge as Latino leaders press Biden to appoint 5 Hispanics to Cabinet States split on COVID-19 responses as cases surge Overnight Health Care: States reimpose extensive COVID-19 restrictions MORE and former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyFauci says he has not talked to Biden: He doesn’t want to ‘put me in a compromised position’ Klain: COVID-19 relief could be first example of post-election bipartisan action Sunday shows – Election results, coronavirus dominate headlines MORE, while potential candidates for Housing and Urban Development range from Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsAtlanta mayor: Trump would ‘eat his own children’ if it helped him Biden to air 90-minute radio programs targeting Black voters Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE to Diane Yentel, the CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Andy LevinAndrew (Andy) LevinWhat’s behind the divisions over Biden’s secretary of Labor? On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Business groups shudder at thought of Sanders as Labor secretary MORE (Mich.)
Progressives and numerous labor unions have been pushing for Levin as one of their top picks for Labor Secretary.
Levin, who was first elected to the House in 2018, is less well-known or as controversial as other top progressives floated for the role like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What’s behind the divisions over Biden’s secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE (I-Vt.).
Levin has deep ties to organized labor. His lengthy resume includes serving as assistant director of organizing at the AFL-CIO; a staff attorney to the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations; running Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program to provide job training for unemployed and under-employed people during the Great Recession; and briefly working as acting director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.
Levin is also the heir to one of Michigan’s Democratic political dynasties. He is the son of former Rep. Sander LevinSander (Sandy) Martin LevinFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Here are Kamala Harris’s K Street connections Warren gets endorsements from 45 Michigan officeholders, activists MORE, the former top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the nephew of former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinMichigan to pay 0M to victims of Flint water crisis Unintended consequences of killing the filibuster Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 MORE.
A Levin spokesperson said that he is “preparing with excitement” for the next session of Congress that begins in January and declined to comment on any conversations with the Biden transition team.
Aside from Sanders, other prospective candidates for Labor Secretary include Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and California Labor Secretary Julie Su.