Biden's first year: About half of nominees awaiting Senate confirmation

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President Biden marked his first year in office with more than half of his nominees confirmed in the Senate and a few high-profile withdrawals.

As of this week, Biden has nominated 678 people to executive branch positions, judgeships, attorneys and marshal positions. So far, 356 of them have been confirmed – or about 53% – according to the White House. 

That leaves 322 nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. 

With Democrats in control of the Senate, Biden was able to fill his major Cabinet secretary positions in a matter of months. In his first month in office, the Senate confirmed several high-profile and history-making nominees, including Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.

But Biden has had a few bumps along the way.

Biden had to pull 10 nominations to date, and also chose not re-nominate seven others, after their nomination was returned at the end of the year, according to the White House. 

Here’s a look at the most high-profile withdrawals:

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is sworn in before a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Neera Tanden

Biden nominated Neera Tanden to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Tanden, the former head of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, couldn’t find enough congressional support due in part to her heated Twitter posts.

She now serves in the White House, as staff secretary, which does not require Senate confirmation.

David Chipman, appears before a Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing for his nomination to be Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Department of Justice, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
(Rod Lamkey / CNP/Sipa USA)

David Chipman

The White House withdrew the nomination of David Chipman to run the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco (ATF) and Firearms in September. 

Chipman, who had a history of caustic comments about gun owners and worked for gun control groups for years after his career as an ATF agent, was staunchly opposed by Republicans. But he struggled to gain the support of several Democrats, who never explicitly opposed Chipman’s nomination but also never publicly supported him either.

In addition, Chipman had been accused of racial bias by a Black former ATF agent, for falsely claiming he cheated on a promotion exam. Separately, a group of former ATF agents wrote a letter to the Senate calling into serious question Chipman’s fitness to serve, after several current and former agents have called him a “bully” and an “activist.”

Cornell Prof. Saule Omarova is President Biden’s nominee to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Republicans of "Red Scare McCarthyism" in their opposition of her. 
(Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs)

Saule Omarova 

Saule Omarova withdrew her nomination in December to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a Treasury Department agency that has a major role in overseeing banks in the country.

Progressives lauded her nomination as a chance for the agency to conduct more strict supervision, but critics argued Omarova was a “radical choice,” saying the nominee wanted to nationalize banking, while questioning whether she remained wedded to the ideologies of her native Soviet Union. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more radical choice for any regulatory spot in our federal government,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said during an October speech opposing her confirmation.

In addition, Omarova, who was 28 years old at the time, was arrested in 1995 for “retail theft” from a T.J. Maxx store in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Elizabeth Klein

The White House never formally nominated Elizabeth Klein, but Biden had to back off his plan to make Klein the deputy secretary of the Interior Department in March.

Biden’s presidential transition organization announced Klein as his pick for the post on Jan. 18, but she faced opposition from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, due to her past stances on oil, gas and mineral development in Alaska. 

Fox News’ Michael Lee, Brooke Singman and Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 

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