Collecting our confirmation coverage


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We’re camped out on Capitol Hill all week covering the transition hearings — and we thought you’d like a central place to follow our confirmation coverage. We’ll update this list as the week goes on. The full list is after the jump, and it’s sorted alphabetically by agency.

Tom Vilsack


The nominee to become Agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, told senators Wednesday that he plans to take on a myriad of initiatives. Among them: boosting income opportunities for farmers and ranchers; administering nutrition and wellness programs for children and adults; implementing the massive 2008 Farm Bill; educating Americans better about the role agriculture plays in society; researching ways to increase use of ethanol and other biological-based fuel alternatives; increasing cooperation with other agencies to ensure a safe food supply; and improving management of the nation’s forests.

Arne Duncan


Secretary-designee Arne Duncan vowed Tuesday to cut ineffective programs at the Education Department. In response to a question from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Duncan said during his confirmation hearing that he would pay for new programs by eliminating old, ineffective ones, and he cited President-elect Barack Obama’s planned agency-by-agency inspections for wasteful or outdated programs.

Steven Chu


Steven Chu assured lawmakers today that, as Energy Secretary, he would tap all of the nation’s resources — including coal, nuclear power and offshore oil reserves — as part of a comprehensive effort to cut dependence on foreign fuel sources.

Lisa Jackson

Environmental Protection Agency

Restoring science as the backbone of environmental policies will be a top priority for President-elect Barack Obama’s top environmental picks, Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutley. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the committee, said EPA took a direction “diametrically opposed to its mission” during the Bush administration. Jackson, Boxer said, must put the agency back on track, by reviewing Bush regulations that ease or roll back EPA authorities to fight pollution.

Janet Napolitano

Homeland Security

Napolitano seems headed for a quick confirmation early next week. That would put her in charge of a 6-year-old department facing a myriad of management and policy challenges: poor contract oversight, a controversial approach to immigration and a demoralized work force, to name a few. She spent much of the hearing talking about those management challenges, and elaborated on her views in her answers to a lengthy written questionnaire from the committee.

Shaun Donovan

Housing and Urban Development

“Job One for HUD” is solving the foreclosure crisis that triggered the current economic meltdown, Donovan said. But to ensure HUD is up to the task, Donovan pledged to enact management reforms — such as modernizing information technology systems, personnel systems, training and other resources — to improve HUD’s program performance and oversight.

Ken Salazar


Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar will push for more funding for national parks as part of President-elect Obama’s proposed economic recovery package. Senators also challenged Salazar to clean up the well-publicized ethical woes at the Interior Department, especially at the Minerals Management Service (MMS). A September report by the Interior inspector general’s office describes wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of MMS, an agency that collects royalties from oil and gas projects on federal lands.

Peter Orszag and Robert Nabors

Office of Management and Budget

Peter Orszag, the president-elect’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, told the Senate Budget Committee today he would deal with exploding entitlement spending, work with agency heads when deciding if programs should be cut, and reform the government’s procurement processes.

Sen. Hillary Clinton


The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee left no doubt today that Hillary Rodham Clinton will win Senate confirmation as Secretary of State. But Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar also warned at Clinton’s confirmation hearing that “foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the Secretary of State” even though neither Sen. Clinton or her husband, former President Clinton, has a personal financial stake in the foundation.

Timothy Geithner


President Barack Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary pledged strong oversight for an economic stimulus package, once it is approved, and for the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program charged with bailing out the financial industry. Timothy Geithner, currently chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, promised “strong, swift” action to strengthen the stricken economy.

Eric Shinseki

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs and Defense departments have talked for years about creating a joint electronic medical records system, and VA Secretary-designate Eric Shinseki told senators today he would work to make it happen. Shinseki, a retired Army general, said he supports creating a single electronic system that would transfer active-duty members’ health records from Defense to VA when troops become veterans. Currently, the departments’ systems are incompatible.


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