For many, the new year is often a time for fresh starts, and in 2021, this couldn’t ring truer as a brand-new presidential administration comes into power. With not only a change in administration, but also a change in political party, there is much to speculate, including the effects it will have on the human resources industry and federal contractor community. We recently sat down two of our OFCCP Compliance experts John Fox and Candee Chambers (two-thirds of our OFCCP Week in Review team!) for a conversation on what we might expect in the coming year. Check out this snippet from what was a very interesting and informative conversation below, and be sure to listen to the full episode of the DE Talk podcast for more great tidbits!

Candee Chambers:

I’m going to just start right off–drawing on your experience as a political appointee and the time that you spent in Washington, DC, I’d like to actually have you maybe explain how the transition will actually work and what the various issues of the day are that will affect Joe Biden’s ability to get things accomplished and, finally, what he is actually planning to do.

John Fox:

The main job of the transition teams is to pick the approximately 4,000 political appointees who will eventually run the Biden Administration, if they get into office. So they are acting like an HR and recruitment firm that just pops up and then it disappears almost instantly, as quickly as it arrived. It should be gone by the end of February, maybe earlier. But important to this whole discussion is that there are about 1,200 of what I’ll call high-level appointees that will require the advice and consent of the Senate.

So the president does not have unilateral authority to just jam in his managers. He’s got to go to the Senate and get their advice, their consent. They have to have a committee hearing. It has to pass the committee. It has to go to the floor of the Senate and be voted on by the Senate. And then that person takes his or her seat in the government. Usually too, about 20%, it varies every administration, of course, end up moving from the transition team for the agency that they are responsible to be examining. They move into that agency and become the undersecretary or become one of the sub-component agency managers running some piece of the federal agency that they’re managing.

But here’s what Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution says that really puts a lot of power into the Senate and thus makes this question of who owns the Senate very important because 1,200 of these high-level guys have to go through the Senate. The president has the power to, “nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,” as Article II goes, “they may appoint all officers of the United States, but the Congress may, by law, that it will pass, vest the appointment,” the clause goes on to say, “of such inferior officers,” you just love that old English.

But not all of those 4,000 appointees, therefore, go through advice and consent. The Congress exempts the vast majority of them, by law, from having to go through the advice and consent process. So about 1,200 is usually what ends up getting through the Senate. But think about the amount of time that takes.

Candee Chambers:

Well, there’s still some that are waiting for approval from the Trump Administration.

John Fox:

About half of them, actually.

Candee Chambers:

I’m curious, John, it says so many of these people are volunteers. What do they do to make a living? I don’t think they’re getting–

John Fox:

Well, they’ll have their regular day jobs, but what they’re doing is they’re volunteering their time. 100% of the transition team is volunteer.

There may be some people from the campaign that are paid to be the managers, but these are all people that are volunteering their time because they’re involved in the party. They’re involved in the issues…

Listen to the full episode to see who is speculated to take the Secretary of Labor and OFCCP Director positions, as well as which issues affecting federal contractors and human resources professionals may be Biden’s top priority in the new administration. That’s it for 2020 but we’ll be back next month (er, next year!) with another new episode of the DE Talk podcast!

Kacie Clark
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