The Senate on Monday confirmed Denis McDonough as President Joe Biden’s secretary of Veterans Affairs, a vote that took place just before the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump gets into full swing.
As a result, the McDonough confirmation could be the last confirmation vote for a Biden Cabinet official until after the impeachment trial ends unless there is an agreement by senators, although several Republicans have said they would not consent to voting on more nominees until after the trial.
McDonough, a native of Minnesota who served as chief of staff during former President Barack Obama’s second term, also worked as deputy national security adviser. He developed a close relationship with Biden during both positions. He is a devout Catholic, a bond he also shares with Biden.
The confirmation is the latest example of how Biden has turned to a trusted set of advisers to surround him in his new administration.
Prior to McDonough’s confirmation, six of Biden’s 23 Cabinet-level nominees requiring Senate approval had been confirmed: Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary, Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Janet Yellen as treasury secretary, Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense and Avril Haines as national intelligence director.
Several veterans groups were hoping Biden would choose a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. McDonough did not serve in the military, but rather has long experience navigating bureaucracies on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Monday.