The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s first Cabinet nominee Wednesday evening, voting to approve his pick for director of national intelligence on Biden’s first day in office. The vote was 84 to 10.
Haines’ day-one confirmation was in doubt for much of Wednesday, after Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas objected to her confirmation until he received a written response to clarify one of her answers during her Tuesday confirmation hearing. Once Cotton received the response, he went to the floor and lifted his hold. Haines will become the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence, taking over an intelligence community that has been repeatedly disparaged and sidelined by former President Trump throughout his four years in office.
Haines’ confirmation continues a recent Senate precedent of confirming Cabinet nominees the day a new President is sworn in, though Biden is getting fewer nominees than his predecessors. The Senate confirmed two of Trump’s on his first day, and even more for former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Biden may also struggle to get additional nominees confirmed quickly, as those confirmations could be stalled until Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer cut a deal on a resolution outlining how they'll share power in the Senate, GOP and Democratic senators said Wednesday.
In addition to Haines, Janet Yellen to the Treasury Department is another nominee likely to get a quick vote in the Senate, but there still needs to be an agreement to hold votes on the nominations. It remains to be seen when other nominees might be considered.