Ray LaHood

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Posted by kaori 04/06/2009 @ 22:11

Tags : ray lahood, the house, government, politics

News headlines
DOT Scraps Auctions For NYC Airport Slots - Wall Street Journal
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in a statement that he remains "serious" about tackling the congestion in an area that handles a third of all US domestic traffic. However, LaHood did not signal how DOT plans to address the issue beyond...
LaHood cancels plans for NY slot auctions - SmartBrief
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday he is dropping a Bush administration plan to auction takeoff and landing slots at New York airports. "I'll be talking with airline, airport and consumer stakeholders, as well as elected officials,...
LaHood Eyes Funding for Ports - The Journal of Commerce Online
Port intermodal projects should qualify for special federal funding under a grant program in the Recovery Act, said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. In remarks to a National Retail Federation conference in Washington, DC, LaHood said ports should...
NY1 Exclusive: LaHood Promotes Congestion Pricing, End To Airport ... - NY1
Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reversed today plans to auction takeoff and landing slots at the three major New York-area airports, and then told NY1 in an exclusive interview that the city could still receive federal transit aid if it...
Trans Secretary Ray LaHood to Keynote DC Retail Conference - RTO Online
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be the keynote speaker at this week's National Retail Federation 74th annual Washington Leadership Conference. In addition, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is scheduled to speak at 8:15 am on Wednesday,...
LaHood: California on fast track for rail funds - San Francisco Chronicle
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood indicated Friday that California and Florida are on the fast track for federal funding for planned high-speed rail systems. LaHood said he will convene a high-speed rail summit in Washington on May 19 with...
DOT, Commerce Work Together - The Journal of Commerce Online
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told an audience of business and transportation leaders on Monday that the two departments will collaborate to learn what shippers want as the government proceeds with developing a...
Secretary Ray LaHood to give address at U of I - Peoria Journal Star
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will deliver the University of Illinois College of Law convocation address May 16 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. LaHood, a Republican, joined the Cabinet of Democratic President Barack Obama...
'Click it or Ticket' effort kicks off - Fairfaxtimes.com
By ALAB On Thursday, May 14, 2009, US DOT Secretary Ray lahood will kick off the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's national Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement mobilization involving thousands of law enforcement agencies and an...
Recovery funds coming to Green Line project - OregonLive.com
"By getting these funds to TriMet now, we're providing a boost that will help this project keep moving forward while jump-starting the economy and putting people back to work," LaHood said. TriMet plans to start operating the Green line in the fall....

Ray LaHood

LaHood during an Obama press conference.

Ray H. LaHood (born December 6, 1945) is the current United States Secretary of Transportation and a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He is well-known, especially among C-SPAN viewers, as the presiding officer of more debates than any other member. Most notably, he presided over the impeachment vote against President Bill Clinton.

LaHood is an Arab American who was born in Peoria, Illinois, to a Jordanian mother and a Lebanese father. He was educated at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, from which he earned a degree in education. He was a school teacher, director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau, and an aide to Representatives Tom Railsback and Robert Michel before entering politics. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for one term between 1982 and 1983. LaHood is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

LaHood succeeded his boss, Bob Michel, after the latter's retirement. Elected as part of the Republican Revolution of 1994, he was one of only three Republican candidates who did not sign on to the Contract with America, Newt Gingrich's manifesto for a Republican majority.

LaHood was said to be considering a challenge to Governor Rod Blagojevich's re-election bid in 2006, but on August 18, 2005 he ruled out a run, saying few outside his district knew him.

In 2006, LaHood won against Steve Waterworth by a margin of 147,108 (67%) to 71,106 (33%).

A strong advocate for advancing the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, LaHood authored a law that established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which lay the groundwork for celebrating the 16th president's 200th birthday in 2009. He also has been a lead Capitol Hill supporter for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, and is one of 15 members on the ALBC.

In 2007 LaHood was considered for candidacy to become the president of his alma mater Bradley University, following the departure of David Broski. However, he decided against applying for the position.

LaHood received a 0% rating from the conservative and anti-earmark Club for Growth 2007 RePORK Card. He received an 11% rating from Citizens Against Government Waste for 2007 and holds a lifetime 49% rating from the group.

On July 26, 2007, LaHood stated he would not seek re-election in 2008 and would retire when his current term expired in January 2009.

On December 19, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Ray LaHood to be the next Transportation Secretary.

LaHood's nomination has been viewed with alarm among those concerned with climate change and suburban sprawl. His resume on transport matters is seen as thin by many critics. He did not serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the time his selection was announced, although he had in the past. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee he did not work on transportation funding. While picking LaHood drew praise for its bipartisan symbolism there was also a sense that LaHood’s lack of expertise would diminish the department’s role in 2009 major policy debates and leave him as more of a ceremonial figure. James Oberstar, the Democratic Congressman who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to hold more influence and will likely play a stronger leading role. Oberstar praised LaHood’s “temperament” and “managerial talent,” but when asked to cite an issue LaHood championed during his time on the Transportation Committee in the 1990s, Oberstar seemingly drew a blank. “I can’t point to any specific legislation that he authored,” he said. “He was a team player all the way through.” Oberstar said LaHood would play a supporting role on tough policy calls.

His nomination was confirmed by the Senate by acclamation on January 21, 2009.

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Base Realignment and Closure, 2005

The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure ("BRAC") proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and the "realignment" (either enlarging or shrinking) of 29 others. On September 15, 2005, President George W. Bush approved the BRAC Commission's recommendations, leaving the fate of the bases in question to the United States Congress. Congress had a maximum of 45 days to reject the proposal by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, or the recommendations automatically enter into effect. Such a resolution (H.J.Res. 65) was introduced to the House of Representatives on September 23, 2005, by Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) (no such resolution was introduced in the Senate). The House took up debate of the resolution on October 26, 2005. The resolution failed to pass, thereby enacting the list of recommendations. The Secretary of Defense was required to begin implementing the recommendations by September 15, 2007 and must complete implementation no later than September 15, 2011.

Pentagon officials calculated that, if adopted in full by the nine-member BRAC Commission, the recommendations would have saved almost $50 billion over 20 years. The BRAC Commission (officially known as the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission) disputed this claim, pointing out what it considered to be significant flaws in the Department's methodology. The Commission recalculated the 20-year savings of the DOD recommendation list at just above $37 billion. Between late May and late August, the Commission reviewed the list and amended many of the Pentagon's recommendations, removing several major installations from the closure list. The Commission has calculated the overall 20-year savings to the government in carrying out its amended list of recommendations as close to $15 billion.

The process of closing bases and moving people and activities must begin within two years and end within six years and would incur considerable initial cost. Somewhat less than half of the eventual savings would come directly from eliminating the cost of running closed bases. More than half would come from consolidating administrative, technical, and industrial services and from increasing the amount of joint military services and facilities available for education, training, intelligence, medical care, supply, and storage.

Unlike previous BRAC actions, the 2005 BRAC called for major changes for National Guard units throughout the country. The result was the recommendation for the realignment of numerous Guard bases and the closure of several more. A number of states filed lawsuits to block the realignment of National Guard units, arguing that in doing so, the federal government would have been trampling over states' rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Most of the state lawsuits were settled out of court through compromise deals with the Pentagon and Congress over the BRAC recommendations.

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Confirmations of Barack Obama's Cabinet

Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg

The President of the United States has the authority to nominate members of his or her cabinet to the United States Senate for confirmation under Article II, Section II, Clause II of the United States Constitution. This page documents the nomination and confirmation process for any successful or unsuccessful cabinet nominees of Obama Administration. They are listed in order of creation of the cabinet position (also used as the basis for the United States presidential line of succession).

The Secretary of State designate is reviewed and presented to the full Senate by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Hillary Rodham Clinton assumed the office of Secretary of State on 21 January 2009.

In mid-November 2008, President-elect Obama and Clinton discussed the possibility of her serving as U.S. Secretary of State in his administration, along with rumored nominees such as Bill Richardson, John Kerry, Sam Nunn and Chuck Hagel and on November 21, reports indicated that she had accepted the position. On December 1, President-elect Obama formally announced that Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State. Clinton said she was reluctant to leave the Senate, but that the new position represented a "difficult and exciting adventure". The appointment required a Saxbe fix, as Clinton was then a member of the United States Senate. As part of the nomination, Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, agreed to accept a number of conditions and restrictions regarding his ongoing activities and fundraising efforts for the Clinton Presidential Center and Clinton Global Initiative.

Confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began on January 13, 2009, a week before the Obama inauguration; two days later, the committee voted 16–1 to approve Clinton. By this time, Clinton's public approval rating had reached 65 percent, the highest point since the Lewinsky scandal. On January 21, 2009, Clinton was confirmed in the full Senate by a roll call vote of 94–2. Clinton took the oath of office of Secretary of State and resigned from the Senate the same day.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry stated that he expected Clinton to face some tough questions, but thought she was going to do a good job at (being Secretary of State).Christopher Hitchens of Vanity Fair called her nomination a ludicrous embarrassment on the November 18th 2008 edition of Hardball due to the Clintons' overseas connections, her actions during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) voted against a unanimous voice approval, citing ethical concerns. He sought not to block the nomination through a filibuster, but to voice his opposition to her policies. Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana) voted against Clinton in Committee citing her husbands' foreign donations for his non-profit entities, although there is speculation that Vitter's vote may have been an attempt to stake conservative ground in his upcoming reelection campaign.

The Secretary of the Treasury is reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee.Timothy Geithner assumed the office of Treasury Secretary on January 26, 2009. On November 24, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary, replacing Henry Paulson. Geithner believes, along with Paulson, that the Treasury Department needs new authority to experiment with responses to the financial crisis of 2008.

In a written statement, Geithner said that China is manipulating the Renminbi by purposefully keeping its value low in order to make its exported products seem cheaper on the world market. If confirmed, Geither said to the Senate Finance Committee that he would ask the Obama administration to pressure China diplomatically to change this practice, more strongly than the Bush administration did. The United States maintains that China's actions hurt American businesses and contributed to the financial crisis.

At the Senate confirmation hearings, it was revealed through documentary evidence that Geithner had not paid $35,000 self-employment taxes for several years, even though he had acknowledged his obligation to do so, and had filed a request for, and received, a payment for half the taxes owed. The failure to pay self-employment taxes was noted during a 2006 audit by the Internal Revenue Service, in which Geithner was assessed additional taxes of $14,847 for the 2003 and 2004 tax years.

Geithner failed to pay, or to admit his failure to pay, the self-employment taxes for the 2001 and 2002 tax years until after President-elect Obama expressed his intent to nominate Geithner to be Secretary of Treasury. He also deducted the cost of his children's sleep-away camp as a dependent care expense, when only expenses for day care are eligible for the deduction. Geithner subsequently paid the IRS the additional taxes owed, and was charged interest of $15,000, but was not fined for late payment. In addition, his housekeeper's work authorization lapsed during the last three months she worked for him.

In a statement to the Senate panel considering his nomination, Geithner called the tax issues "careless", "avoidable", and "unintentional" errors, and he said he wanted to "apologize to the committee for putting you in the position of having to spend so much time on these issues." Geithner testified that he used TurboTax to prepare his own return and that the tax errors are his own responsibility. The Washington Post quoted a tax expert who said that TurboTax has not been programmed to handle self-employment taxes when the user identifies himself as being employed. Geithner said at the hearing that he was always under the impression that he was an employee, not a self-employed contractor, while he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department of IMF.

Commentator Michelle Malkin posted on her web site, "IRS employment application packets notify potential workers that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration vets all candidates and current employees 'who have violated or are violating laws, rules, or regulations related to the performance of their duties.' President-elect Obama is standing by a nominee who would oversee the IRS, but might not even qualify for a lesser job at the agency." Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who also opposes his nomination said, "The IRS did not fine him. Ask small businesses how many of them think they could avoid paying self-employment Social Security and Medicare taxes for seven years and not be fined." "Had he not been nominated for Treasury Secretary it's doubtful that he would have ever paid these taxes," Republican Senator Lindsay Graham supported Geithner's nomination, calling him "very, very competent" and "the right guy" for Secretary of the Treasury.

On January 26, 2009, the U.S. Senate confirmed Geithner's appointment by a vote of 60–34. Geithner was sworn in as Treasury Secretary by Vice President Joe Biden and witnessed by President Barack Obama.

Robert Gates assumed the office of Secretary of Defense on December 18, 2006, under then-President George W. Bush. The retention of Gates fulfilled Obama's pledge made on the campaign trail to have a Republican in his Cabinet.

On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama announced that Robert Gates would remain in his position as Secretary of Defense during his administration, reportedly for at least the first year of Obama's presidency.

Gates is the fourteenth Cabinet member in history to serve under two Presidents of different parties. One of the first priorities under President Barack Obama’s administration for Gates will be a review of U.S. policy and strategy in Afghanistan. Gates, sixth in the presidential line of succession, was selected as designated survivor during Obama's inauguration.

The confirmation of the office of Attorney General is overseen by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On December 1, 2008, Obama announced that Holder would be his nominee for Attorney General. He was formally nominated on January 20, 2009 and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 28. Following his confirmation by the full Senate on February 2, 2009, he became the first African-American Attorney General of the United States. Eric Holder was confirmed by a 75–21 vote on 2 February 2009.

In late 2007, Holder joined then-United States Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior legal advisor. He served on Obama's vice presidential selection committee.

During his confirmation hearings in the Senate, Holder agreed with Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, that a technique used by U.S. interrogators under the Bush administration known as waterboarding is torture.

The nomination of the Secretary of the Interior is presented to the full senate by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Ken Salazar assumed the office of Secretary of the Interior on 21 January 2009 after a unanimous voice vote on the floor of the full Senate. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Denver Superintendent of Schools Michael Bennet to replace Salazar and to finish his term in the Senate, which expires in January 2011.

Salazar was nominated as Secretary of the Interior on 19 December 2008. His appointment required a Saxbe fix by Congress. On January 7, 2009, Congress approved a bill, S.J.Res. 3, and President Bush signed it into law, providing such a fix by reducing the Secretary of Interior's salary to the level it was prior to the time Salazar took office in January 2009.

The Senate confirmed Salazar's nomination by voice vote on 20 January 2009, shortly after the swearing in of President Obama. As Secretary of the Interior, Salazar is in charge of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Geological Survey, and other federal agencies overseen by the Interior Department.

Salazar is one of two Hispanics currently designated by Obama for a Cabinet-level position, along with Secretary of Labor-designate Rep. Hilda Solis of California. (There were three, but on January 4, 2008, Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name from the appointment of Secretary of Commerce). Salazar is the second Hispanic Interior Secretary after Manuel Lujan, Jr., who held the post from 1989 to 1993 under President George H. W. Bush.

Although Senate Republicans were expected to raise questions concerning Salazar's stances on oil shale development and drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, Salazar was one of several Obama Cabinet appointees confirmed in the Senate by voice vote on January 20, 2009, shortly after Obama's inauguration. Salazar became the 50th Secretary of the Interior succeeding Dirk Kempthorne, who praised Salazar's appointment.

The nomination of the Secretary of Agriculture is brought to the full Senate by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.Tom Vilsack assumed the office of Secretary of Agriculture on 21 January 2009 after a unanimous voice vote of the whole Senate.

On December 17, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama announced his choice of Vilsack as the nominee to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack has governed a farm state as did the previous two Secretaries of Agriculture, Senator Mike Johanns (2005-2007) and Ed Schafer (2007-2009). Reaction to Vilsack's nomination from agricultural groups was largely positive and included endorsements from the Corn Refiners Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Opposition to the nomination came those who believed Vilsack has a preference for large industrial farms and genetically modified crops; as Iowa state governor, he originated the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, effectively blocking local communities from regulating where genetically engineered crops would be grown; additionally, Vilsack was the founder and former chair of the Governor's Biotechnology Partnership, and was named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, an industry lobbying group. The Senate confirmed Vilsack's nomination for the position by unanimous consent on January 20, 2009.

The nomination of the Secretary of Commerce is brought to the full Senate by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Bill Richardson was nominated for the position of Secretary of Commerce on December 3, 2008. Nevertheless, due to federal investigation into some of his political donors, he withdrew himself from the nomination on January 6, 2009.

On February 3, 2009, President Obama nominated New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg. The nomination initially drew criticism, as it would likely give the Democrats in the Senate a super majority, assuming Al Franken is seated from Minnesota and the two independents regularly vote with the Democrats. Republican Senator Gregg would be replaced by someone chosen by the Governor, Democrat John Lynch.

Initially, Senator Mitch McConnell announced that he would prevent an attempt to achieve a super majority by the President. After talks, President Obama as well as Senator Gregg assured that it would not be used as an attempt to change the makeup of the Senate.

Former Washington Governor Gary Locke was designated as the third Commerce nominee, multiple media outlets reported on February 23, 2009. An official announcement was made at a press conference with Locke and President Obama. After confirmation on March 24, Locke became the first Chinese American Secretary of Commerce, and the third Asian American in Obama's cabinet, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the most of any administration in United States history.

Hilda Solis has been nominated to be Barack Obama's Secretary of Labor. However, Republicans have stalled her confirmation hearings due to her support of the Employee Free Choice Act and her desire to reverse the Bush Administration's policies to the H-2A Guest Worker Act and tax problems with her husband. On 11 February 2009, Solis's nomination passed the committee phase.

On December 18, 2008, sources close to the Obama transition team identified Solis as the President-elect's choice for U.S. Secretary of Labor, the last cabinet position yet to be filled.

The selection earned praise from the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations, but it brought dismay from business groups and the Center for Union Facts. The official announcement was made by Obama on December 19. Her appointment required a Saxbe fix. due to her confirmation, Solis's successor will be chosen in a special election in California's 32nd congressional district; she declined to endorse any particular replacement candidate.

Solis's confirmation hearings were held on January 9, 2009, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Committee chair Ted Kennedy repeatedly praised her, while despite some prodding from Republican members, Solis declined to discuss specific policy issues including the Employee Free Choice Act. Several days later, Senate Republicans said they might try to put a procedural hold on her nomination, out of frustration with her unwillingness to answer questions during the hearings.

By January 23, a secret hold had been placed on the nomination by an anonymous Republican, and Solis had not yet cleared the committee or been scheduled for a full Senate vote. An extended series of written questions and responses between Republican members and Solis followed, during which she was more forthcoming with answers.

Committee Republican Mike Enzi also pressed her on whether her unpaid but high-level positions at American Rights at Work constituted a prohibited lobbying activity; she said she had done no lobbying and was in violation of no rules of conduct. Solis did acknowledge that she had failed to report those positions on her annual House financial disclosure forms at the time, which the White House said was an unintentional oversight. After more time passed with no motion on her nomination, Obama appointed veteran Labor Department official Edward C. Hugler as Acting Secretary.

The prolonged process was seen as foreshadowing continued battles between the Obama administration and Republicans over labor issues. Solis's confirmation process was then set to for a committee vote on February 5, but was postponed again after news that Solis' husband Sam Sayyad had just paid $6,400 in outstanding state and local tax liens for his auto repair business going back to 1993. Sayyad was sole proprietor of the business, filed a separate tax return from Solis, and intended to contest the lien as they were for business taxes he thought he had already paid.

The White House said Solis should not be penalized for any mistakes that her husband may have made. The revelations came in the wake of several other Obama nominations troubled or derailed due to tax issues. Committee Republicans subsequently indicated they would not hold Solis to blame for the taxes situation, but were still concerned about her ties to American Rights at Work. On February 11, 2009, the committee finally supported her nomination by voice vote with two dissensions.

The nomination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services is brought to the full Senate by the Senate Finance Committee, though the nominee also historically meets with the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Tom Daschle was the nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Daschle was paid $220,000 in speaking fees to Healthcare providers, and was paid $16 million dollars as an advisor to Healthcare lobbying groups in the time between his departure from the US Senate and his nomination.

Daschle pulled his name from nomination on February 3, 2009.

On March 2, 2009, President Barack Obama introduced Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as his choice to fill the office of Secretary of Health and Human Services (still to be confirmed by the Senate).

Shaun Donovan was confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on January 27, 2009.

The nomination of the Secretary of Transportation is brought to the full Senate by the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

On December 19, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Ray LaHood to be the next Transportation Secretary.

LaHood's nomination has been viewed with alarm among those concerned with climate change and suburban sprawl. His resume on transport matters is seen as thin by many critics. He did not serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the time his selection was announced, although he had in the past. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee he did not work on transportation funding.

While picking LaHood drew praise for its bipartisan symbolism there was also a sense that LaHood’s lack of expertise would diminish the department’s role in 2009 major policy debates and leave him as more of a ceremonial figure. James Oberstar, the Democratic Congressman who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to hold more influence and will likely play a stronger leading role. Oberstar praised LaHood’s “temperament” and “managerial talent,” but when asked to cite an issue LaHood championed during his time on the Transportation Committee in the 1990s, Oberstar seemingly drew a blank. “I can’t point to any specific legislation that he authored,” he said. “He was a team player all the way through.” Oberstar said LaHood would play a supporting role on tough policy calls.

Former Republican Congressman Ray LaHood was confirmed as Secretary of Transportation on 23 January 2009.

The nomination of the Secretary of Energy is brought to the full US Senate by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Steven Chu was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 20, 2009. On January 21, 2009, Chu was sworn in as Secretary of Energy in the Barack Obama administration. Chu is the first person appointed to the Cabinet after having won a Nobel Prize. He is also the second Chinese American to be a member of the Cabinet after Elaine Chao.

The nomination of the Secretary of Education is brought to the full Senate through the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Arne Duncan was confirmed as Secretary of Education on January 21, 2009.

The nomination of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is brought to the full Senate by the United States Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Eric Shinseki assumed the office of Secretary of Veterans Affairs on 20 January 2009.

The nomination of the Secretary of Homeland Security is brought to the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Janet Napolitano assumed the office of Secretary of Homeland Security on January 21, 2009.

On November 5th, 2008, Napolitano was named to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. On December 1, 2008, Barack Obama introduced Napolitano as his nominee for United States Secretary of Homeland Security. On January 20th, 2009, Napolitano was confirmed, becoming the first woman appointed Secretary in the relatively new department. Secretary of State Jan Brewer became the governor of Arizona, as the state does not have a lieutenant governor.

The below is a list of confirmations that were approved through the Senate by a Recorded vote.

President Obama has included members of his cabinet that are not traditionally considered members of the Cabinet.

The Vice President is an elected rather than an appointed position, and therefore does not require confirmation by the Senate.

Since shortly following Biden's withdrawal from the presidential race, Obama had been privately telling Biden that he was interested in finding an important place for him in a possible Obama administration. In a June 22, 2008, interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Biden confirmed that, although he was not actively seeking a spot on the ticket, he would accept the vice presidential nomination if offered. In early August, Obama and Biden met in secret to discuss a possible vice-presidential relationship. On August 22, 2008, Barack Obama announced that Biden would be his running mate. The New York Times reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has foreign policy and national security experience—and not to help the ticket win a swing state or to emphasize Obama's "change" message. Other observers pointed out Biden's appeal to middle-class and blue-collar voters, as well as his willingness to aggressively challenge Republican nominee John McCain in a way that Obama seemed uncomfortable doing at times. In accepting Obama's offer, Biden ruled out to him the possibility of running for president again in 2016.

On November 4, 2008, Obama was elected President and Biden Vice President of the United States. The Obama-Biden ticket won 365 electoral college votes to McCain-Palin's 173, and had a 53–46 percent edge in the nationwide popular vote. Biden became the 47th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2009, when he was inaugurated alongside President Barack Obama. He succeeded Dick Cheney. Biden is the first United States Vice President from Delaware and the first Roman Catholic to attain that office. Biden's oath of office was administered by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. As Biden headed to Delaware's Return Day tradition following the November 2008 election, and the transition process to an Obama administration began, Biden said he was in daily meetings with Obama and that McCain was still his friend. The U.S. Secret Service codename given to Biden is "Celtic", referencing his Irish roots.

Biden chose veteran Democratic lawyer and aide Ron Klain to be his vice-presidential chief of staff, and Time Washington bureau chief Jay Carney to be his director of communications. Biden intended to eliminate some of the explicit roles assumed by the vice presidency of Cheney. But otherwise, Biden said he would not model his vice presidency on any of the ones before him, but instead would seek to provide advice and counsel on every critical decision Obama would make. Biden said he had been closely involved in all the cabinet appointments that were made during the transition. Biden was also named to head the new White House Task Force on Working Families, an initiative aimed at improving the economic well-being of the middle class.

On November 6, 2008, Emanuel accepted the Cabinet-level position of White House Chief of Staff under Barack Obama. He resigned his congressional seat effective January 2, 2009. A special primary to fill his vacated congressional seat was held on March 3, 2009, and the special general election will be held on April 7. Chicago newspapers reported that one candidate for that seat said at a forum that Emanuel had told him he may be interested in running for the seat again in the future.

Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that the choice indicates that Obama will not listen to the wrong people regarding the U.S.–Israel relationship. Some commentators opined that Emanuel would be good for the Israeli–Palestinian peace process because if Israeli leaders make excuses for not dismantling settlements, Emanuel will be tough and pressure the Israelis to comply.

Some Palestinians and Arabs have expressed dismay at Obama’s appointment of Emanuel. Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada said that Obama’s appointment of Emanuel sent the signal he would not be taking “more balanced, more objective, more realistic advice that could change the course from the disastrous Palestine-Israel policies of the Bush and Clinton administrations." Emanuel said that Obama did not need his influence to "orientate his policy toward Israel".

On November 25th, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced that Peter R. Orszag would be his nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, the arm of the White House responsible for crafting the federal budget and overseeing the effectiveness of federal programs. At 40, he is the youngest member of the Obama Cabinet, as the president upgraded the Director of OMB to cabinet-level priority.

On November 5, 2008, Susan Rice was named to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. On December 1, 2008, she was nominated by President-elect Obama to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a position which he also upgraded to cabinet level. Rice will be the second youngest and first African American woman US Representative to the UN. Dr. Rice has announced she will have both a transition team in place in New York and in Washington, DC at the State Department to be headed by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On December 15, 2008, President-Elect Barack Obama officially designated Lisa Jackson as the nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. She was confirmed through unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate on January 23, 2009. Jackson is the first African American to serve as EPA Administrator, along with being the fourth woman and second New Jerseyan to hold the position.

Although there was speculation that Ron Kirk would be appointed Secretary of Transportation by President Obama, he was given the position of Trade Representative. As a supporter of NAFTA, his selection has drawn concern from advocates of fair trade policies.

On November 24, 2008, President Barack Obama designated Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers upon the start of his administration.

After her nomination and before the Obama administration took office, Romer was tasked with co-authoring the administration's plan to recover from the 2008 recession. With economist Jared Bernstein, Romer co-authored Obama's plan for economic recovery.

In a video presentation, she discussed details of the jobs' creation package that the Obama administration submitted to Congress.

On February 11, 2009, it was reported that Gil Kerlikowske had accepted an offer by President Barack Obama to become Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, succeeding John P. Walters. However, prior to Kerlikowske's nomination, the position was downgraded from a cabinet-level position to a non cabinet-level position.

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Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission


The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) is a federally appointed 15-member commission focused on planning and commemorating the 200th birthday of the United States' 16th president. Born in 1809, Lincoln's 200th birthday was on February 12, 2009.

The ALBC was established by Public Law 106-173 (February 25, 2000), and amended by Public Law 107-20, Title II, section 2804 on July 24, 2001.

Eileen R. Mackevich is the commission's executive director.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Sec. Ray LaHood and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer co-chair the commission.

ALBC offices are located in the Adams Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Governor-appointed liaisons from each state make up the ALBC's Governor Council. These liaisons serve as a contact point between the national ALBC and their state, and coordinate their own Bicentennial programs and events.

The ALBC has collaborated with numerous scholars and public figures as well as cultural and educational institutions to help educate and engage the public. An advisory board features over 150 scholars, politicians and Lincoln enthusiasts. Among them are Michael Beschloss, David Blight, Ken Burns, Richard Carwardine, David Herbert Donald, John Hope Franklin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dr. Allen C. Guelzo, James M. McPherson, Douglas Wilson, Vernon Burton, Mario M. Cuomo, Dr. Roger Wilkins, Jack Kemp and Sam Waterston.

In conjunction with the Library of Congress, the ALBC has also worked to help create an interactive exhibit titled With Malice Toward None. Free to the public and scheduled to open February 12, 2009, the exhibit highlights Lincoln’s ideals and struggles and will feature original speeches, letters, photos and artifacts.

Major organizations supporting Lincoln’s Bicentennial include the New York Historical Society; Huntington Library in San Marino, California; the National Archives in Washington; the Chicago Museum of History; the Newberry Library in Chicago; Organization of American Historians; and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois; the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; MOLLUS; the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan; the National Park Service; and C-SPAN.

Other partnerships in formation include Prudential, United Airlines, Motorola, The Kennedy Family Foundation and the Lilly Endowment Foundation.

On February 11-12, 2008, the ALBC launched its two-year celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday. The two day event began in Louisville at the historic Henry Clay Hotel. Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin, McConnell Center senior fellow Dr. Thomas Mackey and African-American historian Dr. Gerald L. Smith addressed the crowd during the Lincoln on Leadership Symposium.

That evening, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts hosted A Kentucky Salute to Abraham Lincoln. Popular radio journalist and Louisville native, Bob Edwards served as master of ceremonies. Performances included the Louisville Orchestra and opera soprano Angela Brown. Film producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife Linda Bruckheimer, a Kentucky native, welcomed the audience. American composer Peter Schickele premiered his new piece, Lincoln at Ease.

Capping the evening was award-winning actor Sam Waterston and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer with their critically acclaimed production Lincoln Seen and Heard, a narrated and dramatic presentation of Lincoln’s life.

A snow storm hit that evening and the next morning, on Lincoln's 199th birthday, icy roads forced the cancellation of the formal inaugural ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, KY.

First Lady Laura Bush was scheduled to deliver the keynote address. Other speakers included United States Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, ALBC Commissioners Tommy Turner and Harold Holzer, U.S. Congressman Ron Lewis (R-KY) and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. Award winning actor Sam Waterston was set to narrate the Gettysburg Address. Period music by the famed brass band Saxton's Cornet Band and the American Spiritual Ensemble was also planned.

On May 11, 2008, the ALBC celebrated its second national signature event in Lincoln City, Indiana. Paying tribute to the women in Lincoln’s life, the Lincoln Mother’s Day Celebration also served as the statewide Lincoln Bicentennial kick-off for the Indiana ALBC. However, blustering wind and rainy conditions nearly cancelled the tribute. Scheduled for the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, the commemoration survived after National Park Service relocated the event to the Lincoln State Park.

ALBC Commissioners Joan Flinspach and Dr. Darrel Bigham addressed the audience along with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Congressman Baron Hill.

In collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the ALBC showcased an evening of poetry and music enjoyed by Lincoln as well as works inspired by his leadership. Featuring a variety of well-known poets and actors, the program included readings of contemporary and classic poems.

Special guests included actors Joan Allen and Sam Waterston. Dana Gioia, poet and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts led the evening festivities. Other attendees included former Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne; ALBC Co-Chair Harold Holzer; Poet and President of the Poetry Foundation John Barr; Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky; and 2008 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Shawntay Henry. The band Dead Man's Hollow performed Lincoln-era music.

The September 22, 2008 event took place at the Sidney Yates Auditorium in the United States Department of Interior.

A three-part event, the Lincoln Memorial Rededication Series will feature appearances by some of America’s most notable figures. Attendees may include President Barack Obama, leaders of Congress and members of the Supreme Court.

Birthday Tribute and Wreath-Laying Ceremony - 8:00 AM: President Barack Obama has been invited to commemorate the 16th president at the Memorial erected following Lincoln’s Centennial. Four-time Grammy-nominated singer Michael Feinstein will sing a new rendition of the National Anthem, accompanied by the U.S. Marine Band. Acclaimed poet and author Nikki Giovanni will recite her new work, written especially for the Bicentennial. Senator Dick Durbin, ALBC Co-Chair, will preside. The Armed Forces Color Guard will present the Colors, and recently retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice – and ALBC Commissioner – Frank J. Williams will read the Gettysburg Address with school children from the national capital area. Wreaths will be presented on behalf of the people of the United States, the diplomatic corps, and various hereditary organizations, including the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) in a stirring ceremony.

National Birthday Breakfast – 9:00 AM: Michael Feinstein’s appearance at the Lincoln Memorial is only a teaser. Following the wreath-laying ceremony, he will treat ALBC supporters to a performance of George Gershwin and other favorites from the American Songbook at a breakfast benefiting the on-going work of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation. Proceeds from this event, at $125 per person, benefit the on-going work of the non-profit Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation.

Bicameral Celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday: A Congressional Tribute - 11:30 AM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House and Senate will pay tribute to the former legislator from Illinois in the Capitol rotunda. Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak about Lincoln’s presidential leadership, and Richard Norton Smith will address Lincoln’s early years as a state legislator and Member of Congress. ALBC Co-Chair and Transportation Secretary-designate Ray LaHood is master of ceremonies. C-SPAN will provide full coverage of the tribute.

April 12: Naturalization Ceremony The second part of the Lincoln Memorial Rededication Series will combine efforts from the ALBC and National Park Service (NPS). The Marian Anderson Tribute and Naturalization Ceremony will commemorate the African-American opera singer who was denied access to Constitution Hall due to color of her skin. A US citizen naturalization ceremony will follow the tribute.

Replicating the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, the National Park Service has invited President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of Congress, United States Supreme Court justices and other public figures to the ceremonial Rededication Retrospective of the memorial. The third and final part in the Lincoln Memorial Rededication Series, the event will focus on Lincoln’s achievements and reflect on the many historical events which took place at the memorial. The ALBC will co-sponsor the retrospective with the NPS. The retrospective will take place exactly four score and seven years (87 years) to the day of the original Lincoln Memorial dedication.

On July 22, 2008 over 30 leaders from the fields of government, non-profit, civics, journalism, arts, humanities and education met with the ALBC. The meeting focused on planning and organizing Town Halls in at least ten cities around the nation. Hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. meeting attendants included U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), chairman of the ALBC’s town hall initiative; U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), ALBC co-chair; former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp; William H. Gray III, former congressman and president of the United Negro College Fund; and Jim O’Shea, former managing editor of the Los Angeles Times. University of Chicago historians Charles Branham and Adam Green moderated the discussion.

Titled Race, Freedom and Equality of Opportunity, the town halls will focus on connecting Lincoln to the present day. Discussion topics include political representation, liberty and justice, violence, immigration, human rights, interracial roots, environment, economics, interpretation of power, spirituality and reconstruction. Cities under consideration include Exeter, NH, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Newark, New Jersey. The first Town Hall took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 20, 2008.

The ALBC national Town Halls are a joint collaboration with the Fetzer Institute the of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Gettysburg College hosted the first national Town Hall on November 20, 2008. Panelists included Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Secretary Jack Kemp, Dr. Allen Guelzo, Susan Eisenhower and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs Norman Bristol Colon. Charles R. Branham, senior historian at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago moderated the discussion.

Over 300 people filled Union Ballroom as the panelists highlighted President Lincoln's role and impact during the American Civil War. Topics of discussion included race relations, equality of opportunity, the 2008 presidential election and cultural progression in America.

The next Town Hall is scheduled for late March or early April 2009..

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, in partnership with History™, will feature a National Teach-In on the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln broadcasting live from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

This live event will feature Lincoln scholars, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Matthew Pinsker and Harold Holzer, sharing their expertise and answering students’ questions from all over the country.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is an award-winning author and one of the nation's leading Lincoln historians. Goodwin served as an assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson and helped draft his personal memoirs. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II. She was awarded the Lincoln Prize in 2006 for her best-selling work Team of Rivals, about Lincoln's Cabinet. Goodwin serves on the Advisory Committee for the ALBC.

Harold Holzer is considered one of the country's top authorities on the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer serves as co-chairman of the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Winner of the Lincoln Prize for his book Lincoln at Cooper Union, Holzer is co-editor of In Lincoln’s Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans (January 2009), the companion volume to the Library of Congress Lincoln exhibition. Holzer's latest book, Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 details the 16th president's thoughts and actions during the four months between his election and inauguration.

Matthew Pinsker is the Brian Pohanka Chair of Civil War History at Dickinson College. He has published two books and numerous articles on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era, including Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home (2003). He has served as a visiting fellow at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and leads annual K-12 teacher workshops on the Underground Railroad for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Pinsker serves on the Advisory Committee for the ALBC.

The Library of Congress opened "With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition" on Feb. 12, 2009, which charts Lincoln's growth from prairie lawyer to preeminent statesman and addresses the monumental issues he faced including slavery and race, dissolution of the Union and the American Civil War. On view through May 9, 2009, the exhibition features numerous photographs, letters, speeches, and campaign artifacts rarely seen by the public.

New-York Historical Society is exhibiting a selection of handwritten public documents and letters in "Lincoln in His Own Words: An Intimate Portrait Of Our Greatest President" through July 12, 2009. Starting in October 2009, New-York Historical Society will mount "Lincoln and New York," an exhibition curated by Lincoln Bicentennial Commission co-chair Harold Holzer .

Professor Richard Carwardine will moderate the conference.

Contributions by Professor Carwardine, Dr. Jay Sexton of Oxford, Odd Arne Westad of London School of Economics and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer will explore Lincoln's understanding of the globe and US role in foreign affairs.

Dr. Sexton will consider the ways in which American educators and statesmen attempted to project an image of the Lincoln across the globe, particularly during the Cold War and when formulating and articulating American foreign policy. Dr. Westad will expand on the Cold War and explore the ways in which peoples and states conceived of Lincoln and used his image for their own purposes. Finally, ALBC Commissioner Harold Holzer will examine prints and statues of Lincoln’s image across the world.

Part two of the conference will focus on Lincoln’s international view as an emancipator and liberator. Professor Norman Saul of Kansas State will deliver a Russian perspective of Lincoln and the president’s image in the context of Russia’s revolutionary changes during the birth of the soviet era. The discussion will continue with a Latin America perspective from Professor Nicola Miller of the University College of London. Professor Miller will examine how Lincoln served as a powerful symbol in Brazil and Cuba during those country’s emancipation.

Finally, historian David Blight of Yale University will revisit the perceptions of southerners during Lincoln’s era. Initially, many feared him as the embodiment of ‘Black Republicanism’ but after the war these same southerners came to recognize him as the charitable alternative to the regime of radical Republicans during Reconstruction.

Plans to explore Lincoln’s legacy and reputation throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Adam I.P. Smith, University College London, will discuss Lincoln's legacy as it relates to Scotland and England.

A Wales perspective will come from Kenneth O. Morgan of University of Oxford. Professor Morgan will address Lincoln’s reputation and influence in Wales during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Professor Kevin Kenny of Boston College will discuss Lincoln's relationship with Ireland. Professor Kenny will broaden the discussion to include the Irish in America. The main focus will surround Lincoln's image in debates regarding Irish nationalism and Ireland’s place in the Union.

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United States Secretary of Transportation


The United States Secretary of Transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. Ray LaHood is the current Secretary of Transportation.

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Judy Koehler

Judy Koehler is a former Illinois State Representative, and Republican nominee for a seat in the U. S. Senate in 1986. Koehler, a conservative, beat the more moderate George Ranney in the Republican primary election but was unable to oust incumbent Alan Dixon in the general election.

In 1994 Koehler ran for U.S. Congress in Illinois' 18th Congressional District to replace the retiring Republican Robert H. Michel. Koehler lost in the primary to Michel's Chief of Staff and endorsed successor Ray LaHood .

In May 1998 Judy Koehler was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court by Illinois Supreme Court Justice James Heiple. Koehler lost in her bid for election to the 3rd district Appellate Court Seat in 2000 to Democrat Mary McDade.

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Source : Wikipedia