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Reports are that President-Elect Obama has decided to nominate New York Fed President Timothy Geithner to be his Secretary of the Treasury. There are conflicting reports that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will accept the Secretary of State post. The President-Elect also seems to be considering an assortment of activists for other key posts, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and the Department of Labor. Many of the people reportedly under consideration have been highly critical of Republican policies and strong advocates for increased budgets and more powerful regulatory roles for federal agencies.

Obviously, one of the incoming administration's first priorities has to be getting a handle on the economic crisis. But as the Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib writes, the economic crisis could amount to a huge opportunity for the President-Elect to push major parts of his agenda. For my part, I am hopeful that in addition to universal health care, the President-Elect moves swiftly on card check for union membership and a major overhaul of federal regulatory agencies. I also think the EPA should be scrapped and its functions transferred to a new Cabinet-level Department of the Environment. This would send a strong signal that the U.S. government is serious about being a world leader on addressing climate change.

How the Obama Administration seems to be shaping up so far:

White House Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel
White House Senior Adviser: David Axelrod
White House Senior Adviser: Pete Rouse
White House Senior Adviser: Valerie Jarrett
White House Counsel: Greg Craig
White House Political Director: Patrick Gaspard
Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs: Phil Schiliro


Secretary of State: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of Defense: Robert Gates
(The President-Elect is reportedly leaning toward keeping Secretary Gates for the time being before replacing him with someone like Richard Danzig or Chuck Hagel)

Secretary of the Treasury: Timothy Geithner

Attorney-General: Eric Holder

Secretary of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano

(Currently the governor of Arizona, Ms. Napolitano first gained national prominence as a lawyer for Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in the early 1990's. She has also served as a United States Attorney and Attorney-General of the state of Arizona. In addition to her strong law-enforcement background, she is known for supporting harsh penalties against businesses who employ illegal workers while vetoing measures that are tough on immigrants themselves--in my opinion, a pragmatic approach to the immigration issue.)

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle
(Former U.S. Senate majority leader)

Secretary of Commerce: Bill Richardson
(Currently governor of New Mexico. Formerly served as US Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy. A former Democratic candidate for President.)

Federal Aviation Administration: Duane Woerth
(Not confirmed, but he has been in discussions with Congressional leaders. He is former head of the airline pilots' union)

Environmental Protection Agency: Mary Nichols
Again, not confirmed, but there's been a lot of speculation. She is the head of California's Air Resources Board and has been aggressive in pushing state limits on CO2 emissions--for which she has been in constant conflict with the EPA.)