Biden administration tracking political appointees to fill top roles


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The tracker is maintained by The Washington Post and The Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit, non-partisan good governance organization. Researchers at the Partnership for Public Service follow presidential and congressional actions on nearly 800 top executive branch positions, a portion of the roughly 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation.

Which posts are included and not included?

The tracker includes all full-time, civilian positions in the executive branch except for judges, marshals, and US attorneys who require Senate confirmation. Military appointments and part-time positions do not require Senate confirmation.

Biden has opted to keep some officials appointed by previous administrations. There are other officers who were made permanent for a fixed period during the previous administration and have continued to serve because their terms have not expired.

The tracker does not show officials serving in an acting capacity, so the positions filled by Biden are not necessarily vacant. All presidents appoint certain temporary officials to Senate-confirmed positions in order to maintain continuity during the transition between one incumbent and another. While acting officers for high-profile positions are often widely reported, temporary officers for lesser-known positions are often not publicly reported – or do so inconsistently.

The numbers in the tracker capture non-concurrent positions. For example, a nomination to be an ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly and a separate nomination to be the US representative to the United Nations Security Council are considered a single nomination.

How often is the tracker updated?

The tracker will be updated weekly on Mondays as positions are considered and filled.

How does the enrollment process work?

The President formally nominates individuals to the Senate to fill each position, a responsibility established in the Constitution. The Senate refers most nominations to a specific committee with jurisdiction over the position. Committees screen the nominees and hold hearings to discuss their ideas, qualifications and history. After the hearings, the committees usually take a vote on whether to report the nomination favorably, unfavourably, or without recommendation. Or they can vote to take no action on the nomination.

A nomination usually goes to the full Senate for a final vote if a majority of the committee votes in favor, but is not required to receive a final vote. Many nominations are approved through a unanimous consent agreement that limits debate and speeds up the process. For nominees subject to a vote, a simple majority is required to win confirmation. The Senate has rules that allow individual senators to express concerns about the nomination process.

Most nominations that go to the Senate are ultimately successful. However, some do not receive a Senate vote, either because their nomination is withdrawn by the President, or because the Senate calendar year ends before the vote can take place. By law, nominations not confirmed by the end of the year are automatically withdrawn, and the president must resubmit them for reconsideration at the next congressional session.

Where does the information recorded in the appointment tracker come from?

Much of the information about the nomination and Senate process comes from, the official website for US federal legislative information. Information about Senate-confirmed positions generally comes from the “Policy and Supporting Positions of the United States Government”, known as the Plum Book, which is published by Congress every four years. However, each administration may add new positions and organizations, or change position titles. The tracker reflects those changes when they are made public.

Information on announcements of resignations and informal appointments comes from publicly available sources such as the news and government websites. The government does not publish any single, up-to-date source of information on the status of these positions. In some cases, public information about the status of certain officials or positions is inconsistent or non-existent. The information in this tracker is based on the best publicly available details.

Is it possible that the tracker is missing a nominee or an update?

There is a slight chance. The Partnership for Public Service and Post has staff members and processes dedicated to following enrollment and confirmation development. However, the federal government does not have a uniform way of reporting the employment status of an appointee, and sometimes, changes will occur with little or no media coverage. It is possible that there will be changes that have not yet been identified in the tracker, especially for low-profile posts. If you feel there is something missing that should be included, please contact [email protected],


Research by Sasha Blockman and Anthony Vetrano. Research Management by Paul Hitlin. Database Management and Development by Mark Prause. Previous contributions by Zoe Brauns, Christina Condrey, Drew Flanagan, Carlos Gallina, Mikayla Hyman and Mary-Courtney Murphy. Design and development by Harry Stevens, Madison Walls and Adrian Blanco. Editing by Kevin Uhrmacher. Copy editing by Melissa Ngo.

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