Cabinet members within the Biden administration might be confronted with uniting the varied sectors of the U.S. authorities throughout a time of division. But in an try to cease the partisan divide in and outdoors of Washington, Biden vowed to nominate “probably the most various Cabinet in historical past.”
Several of his picks have already made historical past, with the primary overtly homosexual man to be chosen as Transportation Secretary, alongside the primary Native American feminine as Secretary of Interior – an try by the Democratic president to set up a Cabinet that displays the variety of the nation.
Some of Biden’s picks have raised eyebrows, together with his alternative to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs, a $240 billion company struggling beneath a sexual assault scandal and a popularity of insufficient veterans healthcare.
If confirmed by the Senate, Denis McDonough will turn into solely the second non-veteran to serve within the roll.
Who is McDonough?
The quickly to be Secretary of Veteran Affairs might not have any navy or healthcare expertise, however he’s no stranger to the White House.
McDonough received his first style of serving within the highest workplace within the U.S. as a senior adviser on overseas coverage affairs for President Obama’s transition crew in 2008.
He then served because the Chief of Staff of the National Security Council earlier than changing into the Deputy National Security Adviser for Obama – serving within the position through the 2011 Navy Seal raid in Pakistan that resulted within the demise of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
He grew to become Obama’s Chief of Staff in 2013.
What has he completed?
McDonough was reportedly instrumental in bridging divides in congress to assist get the Veterans Choice Act handed in 2014, in accordance to the Washington Post. The act, which President Trump tried to declare some credit score for, enabled veterans to search suppliers exterior of VA medical facilities.
Biden was additionally reportedly impressed by McDonough’s immersive perspective by recurrently visiting troops within the discipline and checking on the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, whereas he served within the Obama administration, reported Politico final month.
How do veterans really feel about him?
The former Obama-era official has caught some veterans off guard who have been hoping to see a post-9/11 veteran fill the place.
“We are stunned by studies the President-Elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Denis McDonough to turn into the subsequent secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” American Veterans (AMVETS) National Executive Director Joe Chenelly advised Fox News in an announcement final month, after Biden first made his announcement.
“We have been anticipating a veteran, possibly a post-9/11 veteran. Maybe a lady veteran,” he continued. “Or possibly a veteran who is aware of the VA exceptionally nicely.”
But Jeremy Butler, chief government of the advocacy group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, applauded McDonough’s official nomination Wednesday — although he famous the challenges the secretary would face if confirmed — not least of which is making certain veterans get entry to the coronavirus vaccine.
“Good to see the roster of [Department of Veteran Affairs] management coming collectively,” Bulter stated in a tweet Wednesday. “I assist the nomination of Denis McDonough as the subsequent Secretary however there isn’t any denying that he’ll want a robust and skilled crew to be taught from and assist him meet the wants of the nation’s veterans.”
What he plans to do
McDonough stated that he’ll prioritize “making our VA extra welcoming to all veterans, together with our girls veterans, veterans of shade and LGBTQ veterans,” reported the Military Times.
Biden has stated he desires to increase the VA finances and to deliver in additional healthcare professionals, together with medical officers from the personal sector, so as to improve the care that veterans can count on to obtain.
The former Obama-era official stated he’ll work to rebuild veteran’s belief within the VA system by enhancing the company’s administration and accountability.
“The company charged with assembly the wants of veterans shouldn’t be restricted by outdated instruments and practices,” he wrote in a private pledge revealed by Military Times in December. “Our veterans deserve the very best we as a nation have to supply.”