Time for another thread on President Barack Obama’s latest appointments and cabinet vacancies. The U.S. Senate confirmed John Kerry as secretary of State today by 94 votes to 3, with Kerry himself voting "present." Iowans Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley both voted for the confirmation. Senate Republicans are salivating over the chance to bring Scott Brown back to Washington. Early polling in Massachusetts shows Brown leading likely Democratic nominee Ed Markey for a special election to replace Kerry.
I was sad to read that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will leave the administration after all. He has been one of the best in Obama’s cabinet. Ken Thomas of the Associated Press mentioned several possible replacements for LaHood: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Debbie Hersman, and former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Jim Oberstar. If we could re-do 2009, I’d wish for the House to pass a comprehensive transportation bill instead of working on the climate change bill that died in the Senate.
Last Friday, Obama announced that Denis McDonough will be his new chief of staff. After the jump I’ve posted a few other White House staff changes.
No word yet on who will replace Hilda Solis as Labor secretary, Lisa Jackson as EPA administrator, or Ken Salazar at Interior.
Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.
Rob Nabors — Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy
Tony Blinken — McDonough’s old job as Deputy National Security Adviser
Danielle Gray — Cabinet Secretary
Katy Kale — Assistant to the President for Management and Administration
Lisa Monaco — Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (upon confirmation of John Brennan as director of the CIA).
Jennifer Palmieri — Communications Director
Dan Pfeiffer — Senior Advisor to the President
Miguel Rodriguez — Director of Legislative Affairs
David Simas — Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy