There is a real realization in his transition team of how difficult it would be to elect a Senate Democrat for any role, given how tightly the upper house will be divided next year. And the shrinking democratic majority in the House made it much less likely that he could easily turn to any member of the House for administration.
Several sources familiar with the transition say that no matter what happens next month in the two Senate run-down races in Georgia – where Democrats are evenly evenly distributed in the Senate, with a tie with elected Vice President Kamala Harris – a breaking vote – it would be extremely high for Biden to appoint a Senate Democrat to an administrative role and remove them from Congress.
What Biden indicated to the Allies is that “it would be very, very difficult to get someone out of the Senate because the room for maneuver is so small, no matter what happens in Georgia,” a source said. In a past interview with NBC News, he echoed that feeling.
This certainly does not mean that there is no chance for Biden to turn to a democratic legislature in Congress – but he must be the right person and the right job, and if he comes from a state where a deputy governor would be appointed by the Senate to guarantee a the name of another Democrat. And in the House, even in a secure democratic district, a vacancy can complicate a close vote before a separate election can be held. Louisiana Representative Cedric Richmond is already relinquishing his secure democratic chair to join Biden’s White House as a senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Public Office.
The impact of this political calculation is already being felt. Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth was in the job of Secretary of Defense, but now he doesn’t get a serious look, given Biden’s reluctance to create vacancies in the Senate.
Doug Jones of the Alabama Senate is being considered against the Attorney General’s Office, but Jones lost his seat last month and is leaving the Senate. New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, who is retiring and will not be in the Senate when Biden takes office, is being considered by the Secretary of the Interior. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is with the labor secretary, although Republicans say he has little prospect of confirmation.