Transition from Bush Administration to Obama Administration
(Current Outgoing Cabinet; terms expire Jan. 2009)
Click on a Cabinet Member's name below to see their stances on the issues,
or click on their photo for a biographical profile.
Click on the Cabinet Member's title for the cabinet agency's home page,
or click on an agency name for its home page.
(Secretary of Energy)
Successor in Obama Administration: Steven Chu - (leaked Dec. 11, 2008)
2006 budget: $23.4 billion; 2001 Budget: $19.7 billion
In charge of making sure the country has enough energy, from gas for our cars to oil for heating our homes. Some of its agencies:
- FERC: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- DOE also manages nuclear testing facilities.
- Spencer Abraham served as Energy Secretary in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2005)
- Bill Richardson served as Bill Clinton's Energy Secretary from 1998-2000.
The "Terrorism Czar" was first a Cabinet-level position, and then made a Cabinet department.
- Coordinates a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and responds to any attacks that may come.
- The office was created on Sept. 20 2001 by Pres. Bush in response to the World Trade Center attack.
- The Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke was not Ridge's predecessor -- Clarke's title was National Coordinator for Security and Counter-Terrorism and he served under Condoleezza Rice on the National Security Council. Clarke wrote the 2004 book Against All Enemies.
- Tom Ridge served as Secretary of the Office Homeland Security in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
- Rep. Paul McHale served as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Pres. Bush (2003-2009)
Successor in Obama Administration: Rep. Hilda Solis (D, CA-31) - (announced Dec. 19, 2008)
2009 budget: $10.5 billion for operations plus $42 billion in Unemployment & Job Training; 2001 Budget: $11.9 billion
Responsible for ensuring fair wages, a safe workplace and equal opportunity.
- BLS: The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of the state of the American workforce, including the unemployment rate.
- OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Robert Reich served as Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary from 1993-1997.
Successor in Obama Administration: Eric Holder - (announced Nov. 18, 2008)
Predecessor: Alberto Gonzales; February 3, 2005 - September 17, 2007
(Attorney General )
2007 budget: $43.5 billion; 2001 Budget: $20.9 billion
The Justice Department is in charge of investigating crimes and enforcing federal law, including civil rights laws that guarantee Americans equal opportunity regardless of race. Its agencies include:
- DEA: The Drug Enforcement Agency
- FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation
- INS: The Immigration and Naturalization Service
- John Ashcroft served as Attorney General in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
- Janet Reno served as Bill Clinton's Attorney General from 1993-2000.
Commerce tries to make sure businesses and industries run well and can sell things overseas. Some of its agencies:
- Census2000: The department also runs the Census Bureau.
- NOAA: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- NWS: The National Weather Service (part of NOAA).
- USPTO: The Patent and Trademark Office.
- Donald Evans served as Commerce Secretary in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
Predecessor: Alphonso Jackson; March 31, 2004 - April 18, 2008
(Secretary of Housing and Urban Development)
2006 Budget $28.5 billion; 2001 Budget: $28.5 billion
HUD tries to make sure there are enough homes for people who donít have a lot of money. It also helps enforce equal-opportunity housing laws, so that people wonít be discriminated against when they try to move into a new neighborhood.
- Mel Martinez served as Secretary of H.U.D. in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
- Andrew Cuomo served as Bill Clinton's HUD Secretary from 1997-2000.
Predecessor: Mike Johanns; January 21, 2005 - September 20, 2007
(Secretary of Agriculture )
2006 Budget: $94 billion; 2001 Budget: $19 billion
The Department of Agriculture, or USDA, monitors the safety and quality of meat, eggs and poultry.
- USFS: The U.S. Forest Service is run by USDA, because forests were then considered primarily an agricutltural resource.
- NRCS: Natural Resource Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service).
- USDA also runs the food stamp program and the national school lunch program.
- Ann Veneman served as Secretary of Agriculture in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
- Rep. Dan Glickman served as Secretary of Agriculture in Pres. Clinton's second term (1995-2001)
(Director of the Environmental Protection Agency)
Successor in Obama Administration: Lisa Jackson (D, NJ) - (leaked Dec. 14, 2008)
2007 Budget: $7.3 billion; 2001 Budget: $7.8 billion
The EPA is technically not in the Cabinet, but is a "Cabinet-level agency." EPA is responsible for promulgating and enforcing environmental regulations.
- Mike Leavitt served as Director of EPA in Pres. Bush's first term (2003-2005); he is now Secretary of H.H.S.
- Christie Whitman served as Director of EPA in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2003)
Responsible for protecting the nationís natural landscape, and making sure people and companies have the proper access to it. It also handles:
- NPS: The National Park Services, which operates parks, rivers, & monuments.
- BLM: The Bureau of Land Management, which overseas federally-owned land.
- USGS: The U.S. Geological Survey, which is a science agency for mapping and data collection.
- BIA: The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which deals with all Native American issues.
Successor in Obama Administration: Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle (D, SD) - (announced Nov. 19, 2008)
(Secretary of Health and Human Services)
2006 Budget: $67.2 billion for operations plus $574 billion for Medicare/Medicaid; 2001 Budget: $53.9 billion
Protects the health and well-being of Americans. HHS is in charge of Medicare (which provides health insurance to older and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (which helps provide insurance to low-income citizens). Its other agencies include:
- FDA: The Food and Drug Administration
- NIH: National Institutes of Health.
- CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- AFDC: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (the welfare program).
- Tommy Thompson served as Secretary of H.H.S. in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2005)
Successor in Obama Administration: Former Rep. Ray LaHood (D, IL-18) - (announced Dec. 19, 2008)
Predecessor: Norman Mineta; January 25, 2001 - July 7, 2006
2008 Budget: $58 billion; 2001 Budget: $18.4 billion
DOT keeps an eye on the airlines, patrols the waterways, helps build and maintain highways, and regulates motor vehicles and promotes traffic safety.
- FAA: Oversees the Federal Avaiation Administration, resposible for air traffic.
- The Interstate Highway System is built and maintained by DOT.
- Norman Mineta also served as Bill Clinton's Transportation Secretary from 2000-2001.
Predecessor: Jim Nicholson; January 26, 2005 - October 1, 2007
Successor in Obama Administration: Gen. Eric Shinseki - (announced Dec. 7, 2008)
(Secretary of Veterans Affairs)
2006 Budget: $73.2 billion; 2001 Budget: $22.3 billion
The VA now manages hospitals for veterans and gives support to Americaís 25 million veterans and their families.
- Anthony Principi served as Secretary of the V.A. in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2005)
Handles foreign policy and sends out foreign service officers.
- Runs U.S. embassies, to assist U.S. travelers abroad.
- Also runs USIA, the US Information Agency, to disseminate information abroad.
- Colin Powell served as Secretary of State in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2005)
Predecessor: Donald Rumsfeld; January 20, 2001 - December 18, 2006
(Secretary of Defense)
2007 budget: $439.3 billion for operations, plus $192 billion supplemental spending for Iraq War; 2001 Budget: $296.3 billion
Defends the nation and, sometimes, defends the administration's political goals in other countries.
The Defense Department is headquartered in the Pentagon and is in charge of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The DoD's budget dwarfs all other departments' budgets -- 26% of all budgetary spending.
Hence DoD should be at the top of the list in all discussions of "shrinking government."
- JCS: Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
- DARPA: The agency that initiated the Internet.
- Dick Cheney served as George Bush Sr.'s Defense Secretary from 1989-1993.
- Sen. William Cohen (R, ME) served as Bill Clinton's Defense Secretary from 1997-2001.
- Donald Rumsfeld also served as Gerald Ford's Defense Secretary from 1975-1977.
Predecessor: John Snow; February 3, 2003 - June 28, 2006
Successor in Obama Administration: Timothy Geithner - (leaked Nov. 21)
2008 Budget: $11.3 billion for administration plus $700 billion supplemental "Financial Bailout"; 2001 Budget: $14.0 billion
The Treasury Department prints U.S. currency and collects it at tax time. Some Treasury agencies:
- IRS: The Internal Revenue Service.
- Customs Service: controlling incoming people and goods.
- The Mint: where currency, coins, and stamps are produced.
- The Secret Service which protects the President and other officials.
- ATF: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
- Paul O'Neill served as Secretary of the Treasury in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2003)
Successor in Obama Administration: Arne Duncan - (announced Dec. 17, 2008)
(Secretary of Education )
2006 Budget: Discretionary $56.0 billion plus Mandatory $13.4 billion; 2001 Budget: $39.9 billion
Distributes federal money for college loans and scholarships, and funds programs to improve the education of grade school and high school kids, especially those from low-income families.
- Rod Paige served as Secretary of Education in Pres. Bush's first term (2001-2004)
- Lamar Alexander served as George Bush Sr.'s Education Secretary from 1991-1993.
Numerous federal agencies are not directly supervised by any Cabinet department. These include:
- ACE: Army Corps of Engineers (2006 budget: $4.3 billion plus $1.6 billion for construction; 2001 budget: $4.5 billion)
- CIA: Central Intelligence Agency (2008 budget and earlier budgets are classified (secret); 1998 budget: $26.7 billion)
Porter Goss resigned as CIA chief in May 2006.
- CBO: Congressional Budget Office
- EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
- FCC: Federal Communications Commission
- FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Commission
- FEC: Federal Election Commission
- FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency (2008 budget: $8.0 billion; 2001 budget: $2.4 billion)
- Federal Reserve: The agency headed by Alan Greenspan which sets interest rates.
- FDA: Food and Drug Administration
- LSC: Legal Services Corporation (2008 budget: $0.4 billion; 2001 budget: $0.3 billion)
- NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2008 budget: $17.3 billion; 2001 budget: $14.3 billion)
- NEA: National Endowment for the Arts (2004 budget: $0.1 billion; 2001 budget: $0.1 billion)
- NEH: National Endowment for the Humanities (2001 budget: $0.1 billion)
- NRC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- NSF: National Science Foundation (2001 budget: $4.4 billion)
- Peace Corps: overseas volunteer service
- SEC: Securities and Exchange Commission
- SBA: Small Business Administration (2006 budget: $0.4 billion; 2001 budget: $0.3 billion)
- Smithsonian: National Museum (2008 budget: $0.7 billion; 2001 budget: $0.5 billion)
- SSA: Social Security Administration (2009 budget: $9.7 billion for operations, plus $610 billion for Social Security payments; 2001 budget: $6.0 billion)
- USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development
- USITC: U.S. International Trade Commission
Rep. Connie Morella, Ambassador to OECD, 2003-2005
- USPS: U.S. Postal Service
- (2001 discretionary budget for all other agencies not detailed above totals $11.7 billion. Note that mandatory spending is not included in budget figures unless specified.
Total of all discretionary spending for FY 2008 is $348 billion, plus $788 billion on DoD, DVA, and War on Terror discretionary spending.
Total of all discretionary spending for FY 2001 was $661.6 billion.)
Some additional federal agencies are overseen directly by the Executive branch:
- White House: The Chief of Staff oversees the functioning of the White House.
Incoming in Obama Administration: U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D, IL-5) (announced Nov. 11, 2008)
- NSA: National Security Agency
- NSC: National Security Council
- OMB: Office of Management and Budget, the President's counterpart to Congress' CBO.
- ONDCP: Office of National Drug Control Policy
- USTR: Office of U.S. Trade Representative
Source for budget figures: US Budget FY 2002 Presidential Request, Table S-6, Discretionary Budget Authority by Agency. Note that mandatory spending is not included in budget figures.