The Obama Cabinet: Confirmations & Nominations

The Senate is currently in the midst of hearings and votes for members of Barack Obama's Cabinet. For many of the positions, confirmations have been expedited, but the commerce secretary slot remains open after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name from consideration on Jan. 4. Here, a list of the confirmations and nominations to date.

CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE

Agriculture — Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack

Vilsack was first elected Iowa governor in 1998 and served two terms. He has a reputation as a centrist who balanced Iowa's budget and resisted tax increases. He has pushed alternative energy sources as a way to revive the nation's struggling rural areas.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 17, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 14, 2009 (Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Norman Coleman

Education — Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan

Duncan has served as the Chicago Public Schools chief since 2001, though he has never been a teacher or principal. He worked for a time with an educational foundation helping to open a school, and he began working for CPS in 1998 as director of its magnet school program. He has spent his professional life among poor and minority children.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 16, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 13, 2009 (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Margaret Spellings

Energy — Steven Chu

Steven Chu

Chu is a renowned physicist and green-energy advocate who runs the Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist has made climate change the centerpiece of his career, establishing the Helios Center at the Berkeley lab to research new fuels for transportation. Chu did most of his work at AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey before taking a research position at Stanford University.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 11, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 13, 2009 (Energy and Natural Resources Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Samuel Bodman

Homeland Security — Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

Napolitano "has a deep experience in the homeland security arena," says one expert, as her border state has more illegal crossers than any other. Her first national exposure came in 1991 as Anita Hill's lawyer in her sexual harassment case against Clarence Thomas. President Clinton later appointed her U.S. attorney for Arizona; five years after that, she was elected the state's attorney general. She was elected governor of Arizona in 2002.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Michael Chertoff

Interior — Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar

Salazar was elected to the Senate in 2004 and has opposed drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He has objected to the Bush administration's efforts to lease Western lands for oil shale development, and while in Congress, he co-sponsored a bill to create a new land conservation system to permanently protect 26 million acres of national monuments and wilderness areas.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 17, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Energy and Natural Resources Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Dirk Kempthorne

Office of Management and Budget — Peter Orszag

Peter Orszag

Orszag is currently the director of the Congressional Budget Office. As director from January 2007 through January 2009, he "re-energized and reinvigorated the agency," President Obama said. Orszag holds a Ph.D. in economics and was an economic adviser to President Clinton and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

  • Date Nominated: Nov. 25, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 13, 2009 (Budget Committee), Jan. 14, 2009 (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: Jim Nussle

Veterans Affairs — Eric K. Shinseki

Eric Shinseki

Shinseki was the first Asian-American four-star general and served two combat tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts. He is probably best-known as the general who questioned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's strategy in Iraq on the eve of the war, declaring before a Senate hearing that "several hundred thousand soldiers are probably a figure that would be required."

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 7, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 14, 2009 (Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 20, 2009 (Vote: voice)
  • Previously Held By: James Peake

State — Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. Obama's former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton sits on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. As first lady, she traveled to more than 80 countries and says she "values diplomacy as well as a strong military."

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 13, 2009 (Foreign Relations Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 21, 2009 (Vote: 94-2)
  • Previously Held By: Condoleezza Rice

Housing and Urban Development — Shaun Donovan

Shaun Donovan

As New York City housing commissioner, Donovan managed a $7.5 billion plan to help a half-million New Yorkers get affordable housing. Among Donovan's tasks as HUD secretary will be to manage the Federal Housing Agency, a Depression-era program that policymakers hope will become an important tool to refinance troubled mortgages.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 13, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 13, 2009 (Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: Unanimous Consent)
  • Previously Held By: Steven Preston

Transportation — Ray LaHood

Ray LaHood

LaHood represented Illinois in the House of Representatives for 14 years. He has a reputation for working with leaders of both parties and worked closely with Obama when Obama was in the Senate. As transportation secretary, LaHood would be a key figure in the implementation of Obama's jobs creation plan, which involves infrastructure improvements.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 19, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 14, 2009 (Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: Unanimous Consent)
  • Previously Held By: Mary Peters

U.N. Ambassador — Susan Rice

Susan Rice

Rice is a graduate of Stanford University and Rhodes scholar who earned her doctorate at Oxford University. She was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she focused on foreign policy, security and global poverty. She also served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the Clinton administration and was a witness to the genocide in Rwanda. She has been a sharp critic of the Bush administration's handling of the conflict in Darfur.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Foreign Relations Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: Unanimous Consent)
  • Previously Held By: Zalmay Khalilzad

Securities and Exchange Commission — Mary Schapiro

Mary Schapiro

Schapiro was a former SEC commissioner under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and was appointed acting chairman of the agency under President Clinton. She currently heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which describes itself as the largest nongovernmental regulator for all securities firms doing business with the U.S. public. She was chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1994 to 1996, a post she was named to by President Clinton.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 18, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: Unanimous Consent)
  • Previously Held By: Christopher Cox

Treasury — Timothy Geithner

Timothy Geithner

Geithner has been the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since 2003. He has played a key role in fixing the Wall Street crisis, brokering deals between major banks. He joined the department in 1988, when he was 27 years old, and has served in an array of positions for five different Treasury secretaries.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 19, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 21, 2009 (Finance Committee)
  • Confirmed: Jan. 26, 2009 (Vote: 60-34)
  • Previously Held By: Henry Paulson

NOMINATED

Attorney General — Eric Holder

Eric Holder

Holder was deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration and more recently has been a prominent attorney at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling. Holder helped vet the 2001 pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by Clinton. He later publicly apologized, saying that had he given the issue more attention, he would have cautioned against a pardon.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Judiciary Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Michael Mukasey

Council of Economic Advisers — Christina Romer

Christina Romer

Romer, a professor at the University of California, is a leading expert in macroeconomics and an economic historian with a deep understanding of the Great Depression. Obama referred to her "groundbreaking" research on tax policies and fighting recessions as reasons he nominated her.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 15, 2009 (Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Edward Lazear

Defense — Robert Gates

Robert Gates

Gates served as Central Intelligence Agency chief under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, during the Gulf War. He is well-regarded in Washington intelligence and military circles and is also a member of the Iraq Working Group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker — the bipartisan group to make recommendations on Iraq strategy. A native of Kansas, Gates spent nearly 27 years with the CIA, which he joined in 1966. He was the only career officer in the agency's history to rise from entry-level employee to director.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 1, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Not required, as Gates is a carryover from the Bush administration
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Donald Rumsfeld

Environmental Protection Agency — Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson

Jackson is a Princeton University-trained chemical engineer who has worked in government for more than 20 years. She has previously served as the state's chief environmental enforcement officer, collaborating with communities and businesses on initiatives to clean up and protect New Jersey's water, air and soil. She also worked for the EPA for 16 years in several capacities, including acting as an administrator in the Superfund program to clean up hazardous waste sites.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 15, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 14, 2009 (Environment and Public Works Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: Unanimous Consent)
  • Previously Held By: Stephen Jackson

Health and Human Services — Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle

Daschle was one of Obama's earliest and strongest supporters. The former South Dakota senator and Washington veteran began his career as a Senate aide in 1973, then won election to the U.S. House in 1978 and the Senate in 1986. He became Senate Democratic leader in 1994 and served in that capacity until he was defeated for re-election 10 years later.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 11, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 8, 2009 (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Mike Leavitt

Labor — Hilda Solis

Hilda Solis

Solis was first elected to Congress in 2000 and is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She has been an outspoken and tireless advocate on environmental, workers' and women's issues.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 13, 2008
  • Hearing Date: Jan. 9, 2009 (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Elaine Chao

U.S. Trade Representative — Ron Kirk

Ron Kirk

The former Dallas mayor is now a partner in the Dallas office of the Houston-based law firm Vinson & Elkins. He was the first black mayor of Dallas, serving from 1995 to 2002. He has spoken publicly in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

  • Date Nominated: Dec. 19, 2008
  • Hearing Date: TBD (Finance Committee)
  • Confirmed: (Vote: )
  • Previously Held By: Susan Schwab

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