WILMINGTON, Delaware (REUTERS) - US President-elect Joe Biden will appoint interim agency heads to lead Cabinet agencies and departments while his nominees wait to get confirmed, a necessary move because of delays in the transition process, a Biden transition official said on Tuesday (Jan 12).
Biden, a Democrat, will be inaugurated on Jan 20, taking over from Republican President Donald Trump, who is leaving amid an impeachment process related to the deadly Capitol riot last week.
Trump's administration delayed the process of transferring power while he claimed, falsely, that the election results were fraudulent.
The transition official said that delay had put the process far enough behind that Biden would have to make temporary appointments to lead the government's key agencies, while political appointees such as chiefs of staff can start enacting his agenda.
The official said Biden's team had identified career officials, including some from Trump's administration, whom he described as people of integrity that Biden would put in place until the confirmation process concluded.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the President-elect planned to make the appointments in most Cabinet and some sub-Cabinet positions.
The US federal agency that signs off on the presidential transition process told Biden on Nov 23 that he could formally begin the hand-over process. The election took place on Nov 3, and Biden was declared the winner on Nov 7.
Biden, a former vice-president, has said that some Trump agencies were dragging their feet in sharing information.
The impeachment process adds an additional wrinkle. If the US Senate is in the middle of an impeachment trial against Trump at the beginning of the new president's term, that would almost certainly lead to further delays in setting up votes for Biden's nominees.