In news about the incoming administration, Joe Biden has tapped Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, to be assistant secretary of health. Levine would become the first openly transgender official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Senate held hearings for five of Biden’s Cabinet nominees Tuesday. General Lloyd Austin, Biden’s nominee to lead the Pentagon, said in his hearing he supports overturning Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley announced he will block a move to expedite the consideration of Alejandro Mayorkas as head of the Department of Homeland Security, delaying the installment of Biden’s national security team. Mayorkas addressed the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol during his hearing.
Alejandro Mayorkas: “I will do everything I can to ensure that the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy, the terror that you felt — your colleagues, staff and everyone present — will not happen again.”
Avril Haines, the nominee for director of national intelligence, told lawmakers at her hearing that she would release the report about the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.