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After the cliff, who's in Obama's new Cabinet?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Now that the fiscal cliff has been properly addressed, the uppermost thing in many people's mind is who will be in President Barack Obama's new cabinet. As Obama's first term winds down to a close, many are asking: who's going and who's staying?

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The president's cabinet currently includes 15 heads of federal departments, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. As Obama's first term comes to an end, there remains plenty of uncertainty about as to the status of much of the cabinet, including some of the top positions in the government. 

Among those who have named for possible positions:

Secretary of State: Sen. John Kerry has been selected by the president to succeed departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The president chose the Foreign Relations Committee head after his other reported top choice, Susan Rice. Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed.

Secretary of Defense: President Obama plans to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and Vietnam veteran, for the Defense secretary position this week. Hagel would replace Leon Panetta at the helm of Defense Department.

Hagel faces significant opposition from some in his own party who are wary of his past statements about Israel. Hagel was also forced to issue an apology after foes resurfaced a 1998 comment in which Hagel criticized an "aggressively gay" political appointee.

Treasury Secretary: Current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the last member of Obama's original economic team, has signaled that he will step down after the inauguration. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, is considered to be Geithner's likely successor.

CIA Director: In the running is John Brennan, an influential White House adviser on counter-terrorism, as well as acting CIA Director Michael Morrell. Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus had earlier resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with his biographer.

Other Cabinet positions: There will likely be other openings throughout the administration, with possible departures from other agencies including the Energy and Commerce departments.

If Interior Department head Ken Salazar leaves, former Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, retiring Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington and outgoing Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire are on the shortlist to replace him, according to a Democratic insider.

Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson has also announced her departure at the end of January, setting up an open position at an organization frequently targeted by Republican foes of federal regulations.

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