Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama Transition Talk

There's a lot of talk out there right now with potential cabinet members.

Janet Napolitano is Obama's choice for Secretary of Homeland Security. This will take Napolitano out of the 2010 Senate race when John McCain's seat is up for re-election.

Penny Pritzker will not be Commerce Secretary as she has turned the position down.
Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, national campaign finance chairwoman for the Obama campaign, has taken herself out of the running to be secretary of commerce, a Democratic official said.

“She fears problems with her confirmation based on past business dealings,” the official said.

Pritzker was featured in a flurry of news reports as a likely secretary of commerce. But senior officials repeatedly — and correctly — told Politico that was not true.
John Dingell has been dethroned. This may change the way things are done in the House.
California Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Thursday officially dethroned longtime Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, upending a seniority system that has governed Democratic politics in the House for decades.

In a secret ballot vote in the Cannon Caucus Room, House Democrats ratified an earlier decision by the Steering and Policy Committee to replace the 82-year-old Dingell with his 69-year-old rival. The vote was 137-122 in favor of Waxman.

The ascension of Waxman, a wily environmentalist, recasts a committee that Dingell has chaired since 1981 with an eye toward protecting the domestic auto industry in his native Michigan. The Energy and Commerce Committee has principal jurisdiction over many of President-elect Barack Obama's top legislative priorities, including energy, the environment and health care.

"Seniority is important, but it should not be a grant of property rights to be chairman for three decades or more,” Waxman said after emerging from the caucus meeting.

Waxman’s win is a big victory for environmentalists who want a more aggressive stance on global warming from the committee, and the vote showed the powerful hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Waxman ally, even though she officially remained neutral in the race.
John Kerry will replace Joe Biden as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
More than three decades after he first appeared before the panel as a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran-turned-antiwar protester, Senator John F. Kerry will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him enormous influence over President-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy, according to congressional officials.

Kerry, who was elected to a fifth term from Massachusetts earlier this month, will be handed the gavel when the new Congress convenes in January, replacing Vice President-elect Joe Biden, the officials said.

Aides to Kerry said he is already laying out a broad agenda for the committee, beginning with new legislation to strengthen the United States' hand against terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan; provide oversight of efforts to end the war in Iraq; and seize what he sees as a new opportunity to curtail the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Kerry, 64, is still considered by some political observers to be a possible pick for Obama's secretary of state, but Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, each of whom met separately with Obama at his Chicago transition office last week, are considered far more likely selections for the position of top diplomat.
House and Senate Republicans have Rahm Emanuel's cell phone number.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, on Capitol Hill today to meet with House and Senate Republicans, says that the lines of communication will run across the aisle in an Obama administration.

Senate Republicans say that promise includes the famously outgoing Democrat's digits.

"He gave us all his personal cell phone," said newly-selected Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Ensign, who met with Emanuel today. "He said he promised to get back us on issues within 24 hours."
Here's what we do now about who is serving in what positions:
Chief of staff: Rahm Emanuel NAMED
Deputy chiefs of staff: Jim Messina NAMED, Mona Sutphen NAMED
Senior advisers: Valerie Jarrett NAMED, Peter Rouse NAMED, David Axelrod NAMED Assistant to the president for legislative affairs: Phil Schiliro NAMED
White House counsel: Greg Craig NAMED
Press secretary: Robert Gibbs
Biden chief of staff: Ron Klain NAMED
Staff secretary: Lisa Brown NAMED
Cabinet secretary: Chris Lu NAMED
Also confirmed positions:
Justice (AG): Eric Holder CONFIRMED BY NBC NEWS

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