On Wednesday, Politico reported that President-elect Joe Biden is anticipating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his Republican allies will be an obstacle to getting his Cabinet confirmed — so he is focusing on front-loading lower level nominees who don't need Senate confirmation, ensuring that the agencies will be well-staffed by people he trusts no matter how difficult the confirmation fights for the major positions become.
"Concerned about Republicans slow-walking confirmation hearings for Cabinet appointees and hollowed-out federal agencies, Biden and his aides are eager to place mid- to lower-level officials across the federal government, particularly in national security roles, to ensure his administration can begin to enact his agenda immediately, according to three people familiar with the situation," reported Nahal Toosi, Tyler Pager, and Andrew Desiderio. "By quickly selecting candidates for slots that don’t require Senate confirmation, such as deputy assistant secretaries, the transition team also can try to ensure that many of those hired can obtain security clearances by the time Biden takes office."
"The shift in focus to filling positions that do not require confirmation reflects the urgency with which the Biden team sees its staffing conundrum — especially in the realm of national security, where there’s little room for error," said the report. "It also signals Biden’s anxiousness to replace Trump appointees and fill long-empty positions as soon as possible so he can enact his agenda."
Some of Biden's nominees for major positions, like former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury, have garnered bipartisan support. But others, like the nomination of former Hillary Clinton aide and think tank director Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget, have some Republican senators threatening a confirmation blockade.