On November 24, CNN announced that Joe Biden had made his cabinet picks. Only two have not been confirmed by the Senate. One, Neera Tanden for OMB Director, has withdrawn her candidacy, and one other, Eric Ladner for Science Advisor, is nominated but not yet scheduled for confirmation. On December 3 Biden said, “I’m going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country.”
The 26-seat Cabinet consists of the President, the Vice President, 15 executive branch agency secretaries and, in this current administration, nine other positions, one of which (the President’s Chief of Staff) does not require Senate confirmation. In total, Biden will make around 4,000 appointments, with close to 1,300 of them requiring Senate confirmation.
Earlier this week, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth took issue with the lack of Asians among Biden’s cabinet secretaries and declared, “I am a no vote on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees.” She also stated, “You know, I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ. But anybody else I’m not voting for.” Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono said she was prepared to join Duckworth in this effort.
If this is such an issue, why wait four months to raise an objection, and especially now that all but two have been confirmed? Day late and a dollar short. Seems both ineffectual and hypocritical to complain after nothing more can be done.
The women withdrew their objection and declared their support a day later after the Administration promised an AAPI (Asian American or Pacific Islander) would occupy a senior White House position and act as a liaison for AAPI issues and appointees. Racist blackmail works.
Biden has already appointed more than 1,000 people to the approximately 2,700 positions that do not require Senate confirmation. Of those requiring Senate confirmation, 29 nominees have been confirmed, 5 have been announced, and 37 are under consideration by the Senate.
Here’s the demographic breakdown of the current Cabinet, including the unconfirmed nominee. Percent in parenthesis represents percent among United States population.
Race (some overlap among categories):
If statistical equity is what one is looking for, then Whites, Hispanics, and the foreign-born are under-represented in Biden’s Cabinet and all other groups are over-represented, including Asians.
The real statistical anomalies are in education. A little more than one percent of the population has a doctoral (D. or Ph.D.) degree, yet those holding them make up 16% of the Cabinet. Half of one percent of Americans are lawyers, but 56% of the Cabinet has graduated from law school.
Looks like significant education, coupled with relevant expertise, is normal for most Cabin Secretaries. To drive home the point of the value of education in public service, Senator Duckworth has a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella, and Senator Hirono graduated from Georgetown Law. If they truly care about Asians rising to the level of Cabinet Secretary, they should get themselves on the Education Subcommittee and fight like hell to do away with numerical limitations for Asians at our country’s best universities.
They could really make a difference.
Here is raw data for the above statistics:
Anony Mee is a retired public servant.
IMAGE: Senators Hirono and Duckworth by Andrea Widburg
This content was originally published here.