Biden White House
December 30, 2020

At noon ET on Jan. 20, after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, he will issue a memo to stop or postpone midnight regulations and actions taken by the Trump administration that have not gone into effect by Inauguration Day, Biden transition spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

Midnight regulations are created by executive branch agencies during the lame duck period of an outgoing president's administration. Psaki shared some examples, including a rule the Department of Labor is expected to publish that "would make it easier for companies to call their workers independent contractors to avoid minimum wage and overtime protections."

Issuing a regulatory freeze is standard practice for incoming administrations, Psaki said, "but this freeze will apply not only to regulations but also guidance documents — documents that can have enormous consequences on the lives of the American people." Biden has already said he will take several executive actions on his first day in office, including rejoining both the World Health Organization and the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change. Catherine Garcia

December 15, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Gina McCarthy, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council and leader of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration, to serve as the White House climate coordinator, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post and NPR.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has sued the Trump administration more than 100 times over its environmental policies involving everything from energy efficiency regulations to protections for threatened species.

Biden already announced that he has tapped former Secretary of State John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for climate. Kerry's focus will be on the global climate crisis, with the White House climate czar working on domestic issues, like coordinating efforts across the federal government to lower the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, NPR reports. Catherine Garcia

December 15, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate former two-term Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to lead the Department of Energy, people with knowledge of the matter told Politico.

As governor, Granholm worked with the auto industry in Detroit, experience that would likely help her as the Biden administration aims to move the United States away from fossil fuels and increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, Politico notes. The Energy Department maintains the country's nuclear weapons arsenal, sets appliance standards, and operates national labs that focus on making scientific innovations.

If confirmed, Granholm will be the second woman to ever lead the department. In 2016, Granholm was considered Hillary Clinton's likely nominee for the position, had she won the election. Catherine Garcia

December 9, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick Katherine Tai as the United States trade representative, a person familiar with the matter told The New York Times.

Tai, the chief trade lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee, is Asian American, and if confirmed will be the first woman of color to serve as U.S. trade representative.

The trade representative enforces trade rules and negotiates new deals with other countries. It is a Cabinet-level position that carries the rank of ambassador. From 2007 to 2014, Tai worked in the Office of the United States Trade Representative and prosecuted multiple cases on Chinese trade practices at the World Trade Organization, the Times reports. Catherine Garcia

December 9, 2020

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Reuters on Tuesday that he will not join the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Johnson was in the running for several Cabinet positions, including secretary of defense and attorney general, people close to the Biden transition team said. While he hasn't announced his pick yet for attorney general, Biden has tapped retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for the top role at the Pentagon.

In an email to Reuters, Johnson confirmed that he will "not be in the Biden administration," mentioning the "news over the last 24 hours," likely referring to Austin's selection. Prior to running the Department of Homeland Security from late 2013 to early 2017, Johnson was general counsel of the Air Force and later the Department of Defense. Catherine Garcia

December 8, 2020

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is at the top of President-elect Joe Biden's list of attorney general contenders, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Jones, who lost his bid for re-election in November, was appointed the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in 1997, and prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, an attack that killed four Black girls. In 1988, Jones was the Alabama co-chair of Biden's presidential campaign, and in 2017, Biden campaigned for Jones when he ran for Senate.

When asked for comment, Jones told NBC News, "I've made a point of not commenting on any of the nomination process right now. They've got a process that they go through, and hopefully they'll wrap some of that up pretty soon. We'll see how it goes."

Two other people still under consideration for the position are Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general, and Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee whose hearing was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Catherine Garcia

December 7, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has selected retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to be his defense secretary, three people with knowledge of the matter told Politico on Monday.

Austin is a former commander of U.S. Central Command and was the first Black general to command an Army division in combat and first to oversee a theater of operations. He retired from the military in 2016 after 41 years, and became a board member of Raytheon Technologies and Nucor. Because he has not been out of the military for the required seven years, Austin would need to receive a waiver from Congress to serve as defense secretary.

People familiar with the matter told Politico other candidates included defense policy adviser Michèle Flournoy and former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Catherine Garcia

December 6, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has picked Rochelle Walensky to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two people with knowledge of the matter told Politico on Sunday.

Walensky is the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The CDC is now being led by Dr. Robert Redfield, who became director in March 2018.

As director of the CDC, Walensky will have a major role in helping Biden and his administration navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Biden has been calling for a nationwide mask mandate, and said he will ask Americans to wear a mask during his first 100 days in office. On Friday, the CDC recommended, for the first time during the months-long pandemic, that people always wear a mask when they are not at home. Catherine Garcia

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