Who’s in? A round-up of Biden’s recent nominations for key policy roles

By on 12/03/2021
This week US president Joe Biden announced a number of key policy roles in his administration. Credit: Adam Schultz / Biden for President/Flickr

US president Joe Biden this week announced a slew of nominees for positions in his administration, including his choice for federal chief information officer (CIO).

In a series of statements on the White House website, president Biden named his picks for CIO, four more junior leadership positions at the Department of Treasury, the assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health, and 12 back-office roles at the White House.

Many of the positions announced for the Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services will often fly below public view, but appointees will play key roles in developing and delivering policy during Biden’s term in office. Here’s a round up of the recent moves as the Biden-Harris administration gradually takes shape.

Maintaining the digital plumbing

Biden’s pick for federal CIO at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is Clare Martorana. She moves from her job of CIO of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It’s a wide-reaching job, with oversight of a range of digital government priorities across the administration including, establishing standards for the recruitment and retention of digital staff, resource management, and ensuring information security.

Before her role at OPM, Martorana was a member of the Digital Service team at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to that, she held senior roles in the private sector at Everyday Health and WebMD.

Guiding policy development and delivery

Biden’s four nominees to the Department of Treasury will take charge of briefs ranging across domestic finance, tax and economic policy, and legislative affairs.

Nellie Liang, an academic and former long-time member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, is Biden’s pick for under secretary of domestic finance. The office develops policy on financial institutions, federal debt finance, financial regulation, and capital markets. Lang’s recent research focuses on “the financial system and macroeconomic growth”, according to the White House statement.

As pick for the assistant secretary for tax policy, Lily Batchelder will bring experience from a previous stint serving as deputy director of the White House National Economic Council and deputy assistant to the president in the Obama administration.

In this previous position, “she was responsible for tax and budget issues, including tax reform, retirement policy, and low-income benefits,” the White House said. Batchelder is also an academic, currently holding a professorship at NYU School of Law.

Ben Harris, Biden’s intended assistant secretary for economic policy, is another academic with strong links to the president. Harris was senior economic adviser in Biden’s campaign and was chief economist and economic adviser during Biden’s vice presidency, alongside being a senior economist with the Council of Economic Advisers.

The last Treasury nominee announced, Jonathan Davidson, will serve as assistant secretary for legislative affairs. Davidson is a long-time Capitol Hill staffer, most recently serving as chief of staff to Democratic Senator Michael Bennet.

Health and administration

Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris administration also announced the nomination of Melanie Egorin for assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services. “Egorin has 25 years of health policy experience, including more than 15 years with the federal government,” according to the White House.

Her current role is as deputy staff director for the Health Subcommittee and professional tax staff for the Committee on Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Throughout her career, Dr. Egorin has been recognised for her collaborative workstyle, bipartisan leadership, and mentorship,” the White House said.

A further 12 White House nominees were announced for roles including administration; legal counsel and legislative affairs; and speechwriting.

“The new staff bring a breadth of exceptional talent, diverse experience, and steadfast dedication to the White House and will play key roles supporting the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackling the crises facing the country and building back better,” the White House said.

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