Politics & Government

Obama administration still has many vacancies to fill

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius may feel a bit lonesome at the top, at least at first, if she ends up moving into the nation's Health and Human Services Department.

There are 19 subcabinet jobs at HHS that require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation — assistant secretaries, administrators, commissioners and directors, all key players at the $730 billion agency.

Fifteen of those jobs are open.

It isn't just HHS. Nearly seven weeks after taking office, President Barack Obama has a Cabinet, but hundreds of other senior-level jobs across the executive branch lack permanent occupants.

“The secretary of the Treasury (Timothy Geithner) is sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsible in substantive areas at a time of very severe crisis,” White House economic adviser Paul Volcker said in a recent congressional hearing. "He shouldn't be sitting there alone.”

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