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Joe Biden in the White House on Jan. 20. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday appointed acting leaders to federal agencies to temporarily hold the posts until the Senate can confirm his nominees.

Why it matters: The impeachment trial for former President Trump will prevent the chamber from confirming Biden's nominees and may inhibit his efforts to heal the country and its economy.

Driving the news: The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as director of national intelligence on Wednesday, though Biden still appointed Lora Shiao as acting director.

  • Haines was the first of Biden's nominees to be confirmed.

The big picture: Democrats have pressured Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to wrap up Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, though it is unclear if Republicans have agreed to an expedited trial.

What they're saying: "These public servants, like so many across the federal government, are dedicated to serving the American people, not a political party or agenda," Biden said.

  • "Their experience in government and commitment to service will allow this administration to take the reins as we prepare to get the pandemic under control and our economy moving once again."
  • "I am thankful for their willingness to step-up to lead during these difficult times and help us make sure the government continues to operate and serve the American people. Together, we are restoring trust in the federal government and building our nation back better."
Temporary agency leaders:
  • Central Intelligence Agency, David Cohen
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Dave Uejio
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kevin Shea
  • Department of Commerce, Wynn Coggins
  • Department of Defense, David Norquist
  • Department of Education, Phil Rosenfelt
  • Department of Energy, David Huizenga
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran
  • Department of Homeland Security, David Pekoske
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development, Matt Ammonn
  • Department of Interior, Scott de la Vega
  • Department of Justice, Monty Wilkinson
  • Department of Labor, Al Stewart
  • Department of State, Dan Smith
  • Department of Transportation, Lana Hurdle
  • Department of Treasury, Andy Baukol
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Dat Tran
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Lora Shiao
  • Environmental Protection Agency, Jane Nishida
  • General Services Administration, Katy Kale
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Steve Jurczyk
  • National Endowment for the Arts, Ann Eilers
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Adam Wolfson
  • Office of Management and Budget, Rob Fairweather
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy, Regina LaBelle
  • Office of Personnel Management, Kathy McGettigan
  • Peace Corps, Carol Spahn
  • Small Business Administration, Tami Perriello
  • Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul
  • U.S. Agency for Global Media, Kelu Chao
  • U.S. Agency for International Development, Gloria Steele
  • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Dev Jagadesan
  • U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Rich Mills
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Maria Pagan

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

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