The Biden Cabinet: President-elect begins to build a team

FILE PHOTO: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen speaks during a panel discussion at the American Economic Association/Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) 2019 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry

(Reuters) - Democratic President-elect Joe Biden has begun nominating the members of his Cabinet and White House, working to fulfill his promise to build an administration that reflects the United States' diversity.

Biden nominated senior members of his economic policy team on Monday, led by former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary. He named some members of his foreign policy and national security team last week.

Here are some recent important picks and top contenders for prominent positions, according to Reuters reporting:


The former Fed chair deepened the central bank's focus on workers and inequality, and has remained active in policy debates at the Brookings Institution think tank since Republican President Donald Trump replaced her as head of the central bank in 2018.


Tanden, president of the progressive Center for American Progress think tank, helped the Obama administration create the Affordable Care Act, the sweeping healthcare overhaul that was one of Democratic President Barack Obama's central accomplishments and whose demolition became a goal for Republicans.


Rouse, a labor economist and dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs whose research has focused on the economics of education and tackling wealth inequality, was a member of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2011.


A longtime Biden confidant who served as No. 2 at the State Department and as deputy national security adviser in Obama's administration.


Biden’s national security adviser when he served as Obama's vice president, Sullivan also served as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


The Cuba-born lawyer will be the first Latino and first immigrant to head the department if confirmed as secretary of homeland security. As head of Citizenship and Immigration Services under Obama, Mayorkas led implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for "Dreamers," people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children. DACA drew Republican criticism and could lead to Republican opposition against Mayorkas in the Senate.


Deputy national security adviser under Obama and previously the first woman to serve as CIA deputy director, Haines is Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence. She would be the first woman to hold that post, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Haines held several posts at Columbia University after leaving the Obama administration in 2017.


Biden's nominee to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is Thomas-Greenfield, who will take on a job that Biden plans to restore to a Cabinet level. She is a Black woman who served as Obama's top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017, leading U.S. policy in Africa south of the Sahara during the West African Ebola outbreak.


Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Kerry will act as “climate czar” in the Biden administration, the president-elect's campaign announced on Monday. Kerry helped negotiate the Paris climate deal that Biden wants to rejoin.


Michele Flournoy - She is the consensus front-runner for thejob, which would make her the first woman to lead the Pentagon. Flournoy served as a top Defense Department official in the Clinton and Obama administrations, advised Biden's campaign on defense issues and co-founded a consulting firm with Antony Blinken.

Jeh Johnson - Although best known as the former secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration, Johnson also served as Department of Defense general counsel in the early years of Obama's presidency and as general counsel of the Air Force during the Clinton administration. A career lawyer, sources say Johnson is also under consideration for U.S. attorney general.

Lloyd Austin - A retired four-star general who oversaw American forces in the Middle East as the head of U.S. Central Command under the Obama administration, Austin would bring another retired general back to the Pentagon's top civilian post.

Tammy Duckworth - The U.S. senator from Illinois, who was considered as a possible Biden running mate, lost both her legs when her helicopter came under fire while she was an Army officer in Iraq in 2004. Duckworth was an assistant secretary of veterans affairs under Obama and would be the first Thai-American member of the Cabinet.


Sally Yates - A former deputy attorney general, Yates was briefly the acting attorney general early in Trump's term before being fired for insubordination for refusing to defend travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.

Doug Jones - A former federal prosecutor with a strong civilrights record, he won a U.S. Senate seat in a 2017 specialelection in deeply conservative Alabama. Jones was defeated this year by Republican Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach.


Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall - A former adviser to Biden when he was in the U.S. Senate, she served in the Obama administration as deputy secretary of energy, where she led an initiative to address cyber and physical challenges to the powergrid. Sherwood-Randall is now a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Arun Majumdar - He was the first director of the U.S. Department of Energy's agency that promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technologies, and also served as acting undersecretary of energy from March 2011 to June 2012. He also worked at Alphabet Inc's Google as vice president for energy before joining Stanford University'sfaculty.

Jay Inslee - He focused on climate change during his failed presidential bid in 2019, but was re-elected to a third term as governor of Washington state this year. Inslee has been pushed for consideration in the Cabinet by environmental activists given his efforts to pass a carbon tax and clean-fuels standard.


Heather McTeer Toney - A former regional administrator of the EPA under Obama, the clean-air activist is national field director for Moms Clean Air Force. A favorite of progressives, Toney has advocated and trained diverse officials on leadership and climate in over 15 countries, including Kenya, France, Portugal, Nigeria and Senegal.

Mary Nichols - The former assistant administrator for the EPA during Clinton's administration is chairwoman of California's Air Resources Board, which regulates air pollution in the state.

Collin O'Mara – The chief executive of the National Wildlife Federation served as an energy and environment adviser to Biden. Before working at the federation, O'Mara was the youngest person to head up the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, from 2009 to 2014.


Michael Morell - He was the CIA's deputy director and acting director of the agency twice under Obama. Morell is now the chairman of the geopolitical risk practice at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington consulting firm.

Tom Donilon - The veteran diplomat and former national security adviser under Obama helped steer a White House agenda that increased the U.S. focus on the relationship with Asia. Donilon, a longtime adviser to Biden, worked on Biden's first presidential campaign in 1988.


Michelle Lujan Grisham - New Mexico's governor and a co-chair of Biden's transition team, Lujan Grisham is the front-runner to be Health and Human Services secretary, Bloomberg News reported on Dec. 2, citing people familiar with the matter. The position would fill a key role in Biden's effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. As governor, Lujan Grisham has imposed a lockdown in New Mexico requiring all "non-essential" businesses to close and residents to stay home.

Vivek Murthy - A physician and former U.S. surgeon general, Murthy has gained prominence in recent months as co-chairman of Biden's advisory board on dealing with the pandemic, which the president-elect has pledged to make his top priority on taking office.

Mandy Cohen - A physician who serves as the secretary of North Carolina's Health and Human Services Department, where she has been a major advocate for expanding Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income Americans. Cohen served as the chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration.

David Kessler - The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has been a co-chair of Biden's advisory board on the coronavirus pandemic. As head of the FDA, Kessler cut the time needed to approve drugs to treat AIDS and moved to try to regulate the tobacco industry.


A longtime Biden adviser with experience in responding to the Ebola pandemic, Klain was picked for the chief of staff role that sets the president's agenda.

(Reporting by Julia Harte, John Whitesides, Mark Hosenball, Howard Schneider, Sarah N. Lynch, Arshad Mohammed, Phillip Stewart, Valerie Volcovici, David Brunnstrom, Michelle Nichols and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Soyoung Kim, Aurora Ellis and Jonathan Oatis)

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