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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

Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Civil rights leaders and Black sports icons are publicly taking COVID-19 vaccines to encourage African Americans to follow their example as social media misinformation exploits Black distrust of vaccines.

Why it matters: The coronavirus has disproportionately struck Black, Latino, and Native American communities, and health officials are racing to reassure skeptical populations that the vaccines aren't clandestine experiments, but needed measures to tame the pandemic.  

Clyburn: Assault had big effect on Black Americans

Rep. James Clyburn. Photo: Cheriss May/Getty Images

Last week's assault on the Capitol felt personal to Black Americans, who found the violence similar to what they experienced during the civil rights riots of the 1960s, Rep. James Clyburn told Axios.

Why it matters: Clyburn said the pitched assault by President Trump's supporters, some of whom have ties to white supremacist movements, has prompted an important question for him and many African Americans: "Are we getting ready to repeat some history that we thought we'd successfully gotten behind us?"

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.