The Biden administration still has not filled many key administration positions six months since taking office, The Washington Post reports.
Biden still has not nominated a solicitor general on voting rights issues as Democrats confront a raft of new Republican voting restrictions. The Office of Management and Budget is being led by an acting director as Democrats eye the largest budget in history. And the top official who oversees the agency that authorizes drugs and vaccines is working in an acting capacity as well.
Biden has also failed to nominate a person to fill a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the comptroller of the currency, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, and the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as two members of the Council on Environmental Quality.
But even jobs where Biden has nominated someone, Congress has been historically slow to confirm his appointees. Just 91 of 304 nominees have been confirmed, fewer than under Obama and George W. Bush. Trump only had 49 nominees confirmed at this point in his term, but he nominated only 213 people through July.
Key positions unfilled:
The vacancies undercut some of Biden’s key policy initiatives. He signed a sweeping anti-trust executive order last week but the antitrust position at the Justice Department remains vacant.
The White House says it has named over 1,000 other appointees who do not require Senate confirmation and that the confirmation delays have not slowed their agenda.
“We are ahead of several prior administrations in terms of nominations sent to the Senate for confirmation,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher told the Post. “We have outstanding acting leaders at FDA, Solicitor General, OMB and OCC, and we look forward to nominating qualified people to these positions.”
Vacancies could hamper progress:
“You might have an amazing educator as a substitute teacher, but it’s still a substitute teacher,” Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, told the Post. “They’re dealing with the issues of the day, but they’re not helping with the things that require longer-term investments.”
“These are really crucial positions in the federal government, and you need people leading those agencies and offices with authority,” added Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. “Acting people don’t bring that authority and can’t undertake long-term projects in the way that full-time confirmed people can.”