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Rep. Steven Horsford. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The dwindling number of remaining Cabinet seats has led the Congressional Black Caucus to shift from targeting secretarial slots to instead placing qualified Black candidates in chief of staff and top communications roles.

Why it matters: As with progressives shifting from people to policy, the recalibration for Black leaders is a grudging nod to transition math, as well as proof of their determination to expand opportunity for their community.

What they're saying: Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who leads the CBC's Transition/First 100 Days task force, told Axios. "Our point is there are more than enough qualified African Americans in every key area, from defense to housing, from education to health care.

  • "We want to see African Americans — if they're not in the No. 1 slot — we expect, and we'll continue to demand, that they be in the No. 2 or 3 position."

Of note: The CBC is also targeting the White House Office of Legislative Affairs and agency counsel offices, as well as judges, U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals.

  • "This is a partnership," Horsford said. "We all worked very hard to elect [Joe Biden and Kamala Harris]. We want them to be successful, and we want them to follow through on the commitments that they made during the campaign."

Background: Horsford said he speaks daily with Yohannes Abraham, the transition's executive director. Also on the calls are Reps. Alma Adams, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Hank Johnson and Colin Allred.

  • They will meet this week for the first time with incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. They plan to push hard for Fudge at Agriculture and Rep. Karen Bass for secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • "It's critical timing for them to hear us directly," Horsford said.

Go deeper: Biden risks strain with Congressional Black Caucus over USDA pick

Go deeper

Black residents in Tampa Bay face big COVID vaccine disparities

James Bryant, left, and his wife Eunice register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa earlier this month. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Tampa Bay's vaccination rate for Black residents is startlingly low.

By the numbers: Of the 54,725 people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Sarasota-Manatee, only 812 are Black.

Top economic regulators stressed by vacancies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The boom times are all around us (from corporate deal sprees to the breakneck rise of cryptocurrency) — and the agencies in charge are stretched thin trying to police it.

Why it matters: Overwhelmed staff and a slew of vacant posts could set back President Biden's big regulatory agenda.

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley announces run for re-election

Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Friday that he's running for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regain control of both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Several Republicans had urged the 88-year-old senator to run to avoid another retirement after five incumbent senators said they wouldn't seek re-election.