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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Bill Clark (CQ Roll Call), Saul Loeb (AFP), Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After Joe Biden whiffed with Hispanic voters in some states, Democrats are urging the president-elect to nominate several Latinos to high-profile Cabinet positions.

Among those in contention: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Homeland Security, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for Health and Human Services, and Rep. Filemon Vela for Commerce or Transportation.

  • Becerra and Lujan Grisham have quietly conveyed their interest to Biden’s team.

Where it stands: Biden plans to roll out his senior White House staff first, potentially starting this week, and then announce some of his Cabinet later this month or next. Hispanic appointments could help win back a demographic needed to maintain House control in the 2022 midterms.

  • Biden wants the Cabinet to "look like America," and some of his confidants are predicting it will be more than half female. They believe the big four positions — Justice, State, Defense and Treasury — could all go to women.
  • While Biden's West Wing will have older white males who are longtime advisers — Ron Klain, Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon — expect diversity around the Oval Office, too.

Biden came to rely on Rep. Cedric Richmond, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, for his political antenna. He's leaning toward bringing Richmond inside the White House as a senior adviser, instead of the Cabinet.

Flashback: The CBC has signaled to Biden that African Americans are expecting "nontraditional" Cabinet posts, with some targeting Treasury secretary.

  • They are gathering lists of names and funneling them to the transition through Richmond and Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement sealed Biden’s primary victory in South Carolina.
  • Among their top candidates is Rep. Marcia Fudge from Ohio for Agriculture secretary.

Go deeper

House approves new committee chairs and ranking members

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty

House Democratic and Republican caucuses announced the approval of several committee chairs and ranking members in the 117th Congress on Thursday.

The big picture: The lawmakers who lead House committees will help shape future legislation and hopeful progress under President-elect Joe Biden. The Democrats Thursday statement noted the first-ever African American chairs of the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.