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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Sept. 23. Photo: Greg Nash/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf will step down from his position, Fox News first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Word of Wolf's departure comes a week before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the massive security concerns following the Capitol siege.

  • Wolf's announcement comes after last week's departure of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, among numerous administration resignations following the Capitol riot.
  • Wolf was one of President Trump's Cabinet members who called on him to condemn the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
  • The White House withdrew Wolf's nomination as permanent Homeland Security chief last week.

What he's saying: "Effective at 11:59 p.m. today, I am stepping down as your Acting Secretary. I am saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration," he said in a letter to colleagues.

  • "Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary," he said, apparently referring to several court rulings that said he was illegally appointed to his post.
  • "I leave knowing that the Department has positioned itself for an orderly and smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team," Wolf said. "Welcome them, educate them, and learn from them. They are your leaders for the next four years — a time which undoubtedly will be full of challenges and opportunities to show the American public the value of DHS and why it is worth the investment."

The big picture: Wolf, who has been consistently supportive of Trump, led the department through a tumultuous period as the president focused on the agency's role in immigration enforcement and policymaking.

  • The agency also faced widespread criticism from Democrats over federal crackdowns in Portland and other cities during Black Lives Matter protests.

What's next: Wolf said that FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor would take over his position as acting DHS secretary.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.

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Go deeper

Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet tracker: Which nominees have been confirmed

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All of President Biden's Cabinet nominees have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: Biden now has known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

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Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.