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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.

Updated 2 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.