President-elect Joe Biden reportedly plans to appoint acting heads to several agencies following his inauguration due to delays in the transition process.
Career officials will be put in place to head most Cabinet agencies and some sub-Cabinet agencies, according to a Tuesday report from the Wall Street Journal citing Biden’s transition team.
The president-elect’s transition team did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for confirmation of the news.
By appointing the acting heads, Biden will be able to replace President Trump’s appointees as close to Jan. 20 as possible, paving the way for Senate confirmations of his Cabinet nominees. None of his nominees are scheduled to be confirmed prior to his inauguration.
Biden has urged the Senate that the heads of the departments of state, defense, treasury, and homeland security “should be confirmed as close to Jan. 20 as possible.”
Only three Cabinet nominees for the incoming Biden administration have had their congressional hearings scheduled: Treasury Department nominee Janet Yellen, Defense Department pick Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Finance Committee, announced on Tuesday that Yellen’s hearing would be scheduled for Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration.
NBC News reported that hearings for Austin and Mayorkas are also slated for Jan. 19.
With impeachment proceedings against Trump potentially looming on the horizon for the Senate, there may be further delays to the president-elect’s Cabinet confirmations. Biden suggested the Senate split its time between the two issues.
“Can you go [a] half day on dealing with the impeachment and a half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate?” he said to reporters on Monday.
There is some disagreement among legal professionals as to whether acting agency leaders hold the same powers as those confirmed by the Senate.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco ruled against a Trump administration expansion of asylum restrictions over the acting status of then-acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.
“The government has recycled exactly the same legal and factual claims made in the prior cases, as if they had not been soundly rejected in well-reasoned opinions by several courts,” Donato wrote. “This is a troubling litigation strategy. In effect, the government keeps crashing the same car into a gate, hoping that someday it might break through.”