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Biden Unveils Top Picks with Deep Obama Administration Ties

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Joe Biden on Friday introduced five top picks for his new administration, drawing on leading names from the Obama White House while also tapping an Ohio congresswoman and a congressional committee veteran.

Appearing at the afternoon event were Biden’s choice for director of the Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and U.N. ambassador; and Denis McDonough, Obama’s White House chief of staff, now nominated as Veterans Affairs secretary.

Also attending were Biden’s selection for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, who held the same post for Obama; Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, chosen to be the new administration’s Housing and Urban Development chief; and Katherine Tai, who is chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and has been tapped as U.S. trade representative.

“They bring deep experience and bold new thinking,” Biden said. “Above all, they know how government should and can work for all Americans.”

Rice, who was once thought to be a finalist to become Biden’s running mate before he settled on Kamala Harris, is set to have wide-ranging sway over the incoming administration’s approach to immigration and health care.

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She worked closely with Biden when he was Obama’s vice president and won’t require Senate confirmation — which could have faced stiff Republican opposition.

Those in line to head agencies require Senate approval.

Biden has already chosen former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as special envoy on climate and Kerry’s Obama-era deputy Antony Blinken to lead the State Department.

Jeff Zients, who did stints as acting Office of Management and Budget director and a top economic adviser in the Obama White House, will return as Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator.

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