Key Political Positions in the Biden Administration Remain Unfilled as the Senate Focuses on Legislation and Judges

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August 20, 2021

Presidents of both parties routinely complain about the same problem—the process of getting political appointees confirmed is frustratingly slow. Despite decades of Washington experience and large Rolodex, this has been the case for the Biden administration as the Senate has been focused on legislative activities and confirming judges.

IIBEC is following nominees for positions at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the General Service Administration, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Labor, among others. The individuals who fill these positions will have the ability to write policy that affects the building enclosure profession and design and construction industry.

Political appointees are critical for advancing the president’s agenda, and vacancies hamper federal management and operations. Nominees must first pass a rigorous vetting process before being formally nominated by the president, and then they have a nomination hearing in the Senate before Senators vote to confirm or block the appointment. The process is straightforward, but with around 1200 positions to fill, it usually takes a year before all positions are filled.

According to the Partnership for Public Service, which tracks roughly 800 of the 1200 political appointments, “Biden’s pace of confirmations is faster than Donald Trump’s, slower than Barack Obama’s and George W. Bush’s.”  The partnership reports that as of early August, only 127 Biden nominees had been confirmed by the Senate, and nearly 275 were awaiting Senate action. Meanwhile, the administration has yet to even nominate personnel for at least 236 appointed positions. The remaining positions are filled with holdovers from the previous administration.

IIBEC Director of Government Relations John Boling

Boling joined IIBEC in early 2021. He focuses on increasing IIBEC’s influence on federal, state, provincial, and local public policy, helping shape codes and standards, expanding IIBEC’s influence in the building industry, and increasing the relevance and value of IIBEC’s policy positions. You can reach him at