President-elect Joe Biden is on track to take office without key Cabinet members being confirmed on the day of his inauguration, a result of the Republican-led Senate moving much more slowly to schedule confirmation hearings and votes than it has for previous presidents.
The timeline for confirming Biden's Cabinet nominees could accelerate when Democrats take control of the Senate in the coming days. But Republicans, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the Capitol riots, have been slow to schedule confirmation hearings.
The first set of hearings is scheduled to take place Jan. 19 — days and in some cases weeks after those hearings have begun in recent transitions — with no dates for confirmation set.
The latest delay came when the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed what would have been the first confirmation hearing for a Biden nominee, moving from Friday until next Tuesday the hearing for Biden's pick to be the next director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.
That makes next Tuesday — the day before Biden's inauguration — one jam-packed with confirmation hearings, with Biden's nominees to helm the defense, homeland security, state and treasury departments all scheduled to take place.
The proximity to Biden's inauguration makes it unlikely Biden administration confirmations will proceed at the same pace as his predecessors in recent decades, with all new presidents in the last 30 years seeing at least some Cabinet nominees confirmed on the days of their inauguration.
What may come next: The early days of Biden's administration will see a collision in Congress of the Senate's trial of outgoing President Trump, the process of confirming Biden's nominees and talks over Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus vaccine and economic stimulus proposal.
With Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer set to replace Republican Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader following Biden's swearing-in and the swearing-in of two Georgia Democrats who won runoffs there this month — making Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote in a Senate split 50-50 — the confirmation schedule could accelerate.