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U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order after speaking during an event on his administration's Covid-19 response with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Biden in his first full day in office plans to issue a sweeping set of executive orders to tackle the raging Covid-19 pandemic that will rapidly reverse or refashion many of his predecessor's most heavily criticized policies. Photo by Al Drago/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM
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Tracking President Joe Biden’s Cabinet and appointees

Diversity and pace of Senate-confirmed positions

One of the president’s most significant constitutional powers is the ability to staff the top tiers of the executive branch with the advice and consent of the Senate. In an effort to evaluate the Biden administration over the course of its first year, Brookings is monitoring the Senate confirmations process in two ways: first by tracking key demographic data of these individuals through the first 300 days, second by tracking the pace of confirmations in major departments at the 100-, 200-, and 300-day marks. This information is placed in context by comparing it to Biden’s three predecessors: Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Note that the data on this page only includes confirmations to the 15 departments in the line of presidential succession; this excludes U.S. attorneys, among others. The data will be updated with information from the Biden administration on a rolling basis. For a more detailed breakdown of specific positions and the individuals confirmed, please contact Kathryn Dunn Tenpas. Further notes and disclaimers on the dataset is available here.

Diversity of Senate confirmations

This section displays information on Senate-confirmed appointees by presidential administration according to two key demographic factors: The first chart displays gender (via frequency of women appointees), the second displays race/ethnicity. The data is through the first 300 days of each administration. See full notes on the data here.

Pace of Senate confirmations

This section displays the frequency of Senate-confirmed appointees at the 100-, 200-, and 300-day marks within the first year of a presidency. The first figure aggregates these confirmations across the 15 departments in the line of presidential succession; below that is an agency-level breakdown in alphabetical order. The data will be updated with information from the Biden administration on a rolling basis.

Pace of Senate confirmations by agency

Note: The asterisk (*) by Biden’s name indicates that the data collection for his administration is ongoing.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 2 4 1 1
101-200 days 7 7 0 N/A
201-300 days 4 2 3 N/A
Total 13 13 4 1

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 3 1 N/A
101-200 days 16 6 6 N/A
201-300 days 1 2 3 N/A
Total 18 11 10 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 2 7 1 2
101-200 days 32 15 14 N/A
201-300 days 7 7 11 N/A
Total 41 29 26 2

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 2 6 1 N/A
101-200 days 9 4 1 N/A
201-300 days 1 2 0 N/A
Total 12 12 2 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 1 1 1
101-200 days 9 11 1 N/A
201-300 days 1 2 4 N/A
Total 11 14 6 1

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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 1 2 N/A
101-200 days 9 8 4 N/A
201-300 days 1 2 1 N/A
Total 11 11 7 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 2 2 1
101-200 days 9 4 N/A
201-300 days 2 2 N/A
Total 13 8 1

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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 4 1 N/A
101-200 days 8 5 2 N/A
201-300 days 0 0 1 N/A
Total 9 9 4 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 2 1 N/A
101-200 days 7 9 1 N/A
201-300 days 0 3 2 N/A
Total 8 14 4 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 9 1 N/A
101-200 days 13 0 5 N/A
201-300 days 8 3 3 N/A
Total 22 12 9 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 3 3 1 N/A
101-200 days 7 5 0 N/A
201-300 days 2 2 1 N/A
Total 12 10 2 N/A

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 11 10 3 1
101-200 days 67 75 20 N/A
201-300 days 55 7 32 N/A
Total 133 92 55 1

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 1 6 1 1
101-200 days 6 8 2 N/A
201-300 days 5 1 3 N/A
Total 12 15 6 1

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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 3 2 1 1
101-200 days 11 8 7 N/A
201-300 days 1 1 1 N/A
Total 15 11 9 1

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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
Timeframe George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden*
0-100 days 2 3 1 1
101-200 days 7 5 3 N/A
201-300 days 0 0 2 N/A
Total 9 8 6 1

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Notes

  • Although newly inaugurated presidents are presented with the opportunity to fill roughly 1,200 Senate-confirmed positions across the federal government, the data on this page only includes confirmations within the 15 departments in the line of presidential succession; this excludes military and judicial confirmations, individuals being confirmed for seats on commissions, and U.S. attorneys, among others.
  • The data will be updated with information from the Biden administration on a rolling basis.
  • For the race/ethnicity data, U.S. Census categories were used. Due to insufficient information, the race/ethnicity of a small number of individuals could not be determined; these were classified as “Unknown.”
  • Special thanks to Noah Montemarano for research assistance.

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