- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 24, 2021

President Biden on Wednesday blamed a difficult presidential transition period for the relatively slow pace of his Cabinet-level nominees winning Senate confirmation.

Mr. Biden said he’s disappointed that the Senate hasn’t confirmed more of his nominees but that he doesn’t blame Senate leaders.

“I blame it on the failure to have a transition that was rational,” Mr. Biden said after signing an executive order on supply chains at a White House event. “As you know, previous administrations had a significant number of their Cabinet confirmed before they even were sworn in. That’s the tradition.”

“But we’re doing fine. I think we’re going to be in good shape,” he said.

Presidents have to be sworn into office before they can officially send nominations to the Senate, though the chamber has teed things up in the past to confirm a president’s nominees on the same day they are sworn in.

Mr. Biden’s team reported difficulties during the post-election transition period with officials at the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in particular.

More than a month after Mr. Biden‘s taking office, the Senate has voted to confirm nine of his Cabinet-level or major nominees, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Former President Trump also had nine Cabinet nominees confirmed at the same point in his single term in office.

Former President Obama had 10 of his nominees confirmed within a week of his taking office, former President George W. Bush had 11, and former President Clinton had 13, according to the Partnership for Public Service.

Part of the issue for Mr. Biden is that Senate leaders didn’t strike a power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 split chamber until two weeks after Inauguration Day.

Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote gave Democrats effective control of the Senate floor on Jan. 20.

But the lack of a new organizing resolution had kept the chamber in a strange limbo where Republicans still controlled the committees Mr. Biden‘s nominees had to pass through, under the rules of the previous Congress.

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