President Barack Obama's Second Term Nominees

List of Departures and Cabinet Hopefuls

President Barack Obama nominated several new members of his cabinet to replace the top advisers who departed the administration after his first term. They were facing confirmation in the U.S. Senate in 2013.

Some of the most notable resignations were those handed in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner after Obama's first term.

The role of the president's cabinet is to provide guidance on important national and world issues. The cabinet consists of the vice president and attorney general, and the heads of 15 departments.

Those departments are Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.

Here is a list of Obama's second-term nominees:

Secretary of State Nominee John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Democratic U.S. Sen. John Kerry, a one-time presidential aspirant, is Obama's choice for the highest-ranking position in the presidential cabinet, that of secretary of State. Kerry was not the president's first choice, however.

Shortly after Clinton announced she would not return to the cabinet in Obama's second term, U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice was considered a front-runner for the position. But she withdrew from consideration after a short time in the face of staunch Republican opposition.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kerry's nomination in January 2013, shortly after Obama was sworn into a second term. Kerry did not face any serious opposition.

Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel is expected to be President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of defense during his second term in the White House. U.S. Congress

Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who represented Nebraska, is Obama's choice for secretary of Defense and faces the most opposition of the president's second-term cabinet nominees.

Hagel faced sharp criticism from pro-Israel groups who portrayed him as being hostile to tjeh country and take issue with his suggestions that Israel should negotiate with Palestinians. The Emergency Committee for Israel claimed in a 2013 television ad, for example, that "For secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option."

But he also faces opposition from Republicans concerned about his very vocal criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and his suggestions that defense spending be reduced. Hagel has described the department he may take change of as being "bloated."

"The Pentagon needs to be pared down," Hagel has said. "I don’t think our military has really looked at themselves - strategically, critically - in a long time."

Comments such as those will not help him. More »

Treasury Secretary Nominee Jack Lew

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew
President Barack Obama chose White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to be his Treasury secretary in January 2013. The White House

Anyone paying attention to Obama's first term has certainly heard the name Jack Lew before. He is the White House chief of staff, a man known as a "budget geek" who was nominated by the president to serve as Treasury secretary in his second term.

Like Hagel, Lew is disliked by many Republicans and could face some strong opposition in his Senate confirmation hearings. Conservatives portray Lew as being too liberal and worry he would take a more confrontational approach in budget negotiations with Congress. The role of Treasury secretary, in part, is to serve as the president's top economic adviser.

Republican U.S. Rep. John Boehner, who was re-elected House speaker for the 113th Congress, has been quoted as describing Lew as being difficult to negotiate with in prior budget meetings.

"Jack Lew said no 999,000 times out of a million," Boehner reportedly said, then upping that number. "999,999. It was unbelievable. At one point I told the president, 'Keep him out of here. I don't need somebody who just knows how to say no.'"

If confirmed, Lew would replace Timothy Geithner.

Sally Jewell
Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoors retailer REI, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of the Interior in February 2013. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News

For secretary of the Department of Interior, Obama chose an outdoors enthusiast, businesswoman and one-time oil-company engineer Sally Jewell. The chief executive of Washington-based Recreational Equipment Inc. or REI is an expert on energy and climate change.

"She knows the link between conservation and good jobs," Obama said in announcing Jewell's nomination. "She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet."

But some Republicans weren't so sure. One critic accuser her company of "intimately" supporting special interest groups and helping to advance their "radical political agendas." More »

Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy. U.S. Department of Environmental Protection

For the government's top environmental-protection administrator, Obama chose a firm believer in global warming's "substantial and far-reaching" risks to the public health.

Obama's nominee for EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, has called on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gas pollution through cleaner energy sources tougher clean-air regulations, something that does not sit well with some Republicans and conservatives.

The conservative Independent Women's Forum was sharply critical of Obama's choice, saying McCarthy's tenure at the EPA coincided with the enactment of some of the agency's "most intrusive regulations" and that Americans could expect to see higher energy costs. More »