Obama’s Sparse Cabinet Makes History
Even with Solis’ swearing in, the Obama administration still has two open cabinet posts, Secretary of Commerce and Health and Human Services. That’s more cabinet vacancies than any of his recent predecessors at this point into a new presidential term.
Although Obama has named nominees for the top posts at the Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services, they have yet to be confirmed by the Senate. President Clinton had two lingering cabinet vacancies almost two months into his second term, but the Senate confirmed his pick for Energy Secretary on March 12. Clinton’s other vacancy was for the Labor Secretary post, which the Senate filled on April 30.
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush had four cabinet vacancies heading into March of his first year in office, but the Senate confirmed his picks for Energy and HHS on March 1 and his Veterans Affairs secretary nominee on March 2. The fourth vacancy, which was for Secretary of Defense, was filled by the Senate on March 17.
The length of time Obama is taking to complete his Cabinet has surprised a number of political observers. The president announced his Cabinet picks at a rapid clip after last November’s election, but quickly became entangled in various nominees’ tax and ethics problems.