11:01 GMT26 February 2021
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    For the first time in nearly a decade, the Democratic Party controls the White House and both houses of Congress, making forwarding their legislative agenda and confirming appointees much easier than it has been.

    After his inauguration on Wednesday, Biden announced a slew of temporary leadership appointments to head nearly two dozen US federal agencies until his nominees to those positions are confirmed by the US Senate.

    According to a White House press release, Biden appointed Dan Smith to temporarily serve as acting Secretary of State until nominee Antony Blinken is confirmed by the Senate, as well as Andy Baukol as acting Treasury Secretary, Monty Wilkinson as the Acting head of the Justice Department, and David Norquist as acting head of the Defense Department.

    "Today, President Joe Biden announced the acting agency leadership across the administration to assist in the next phase of the administration to assist in the next phase of the transition of government," the release said. "These individuals, nearly all of whom are career civil servants, will temporarily lead federal agencies while Cabinet nominees continue moving through the confirmation process."

    Some of the other figures given temporary appointments include David Cohen at the Central Intelligence Agency, Maria Pagan as US Trade Representative, Katy Kale at the General Services Administration, and Lora Shiao at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    ​Although Biden has hand-picked who he wants to heads the various agencies and departments, official confirmation to their positions by the US Senate, which involves hearings and interviews to vet the candidates' qualifications, could take months. According to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service, the average time period between nomination and a Senate confirmation vote is 71 days.

    Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office earlier on Wednesday at a muted ceremony in Washington, DC, watched over by thousands of US troops brought in to secure the city in the aftermath of an insurrection by supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, who claimed the election results showing Biden's victory were fraudulent.


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    U.S. Department of State, administration, appointment, Joe Biden
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