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Biden to Lose His First Cabinet Member

In contrast to the Cabinet of his predecessor, where turnover was a frequent occurrence, Joe Biden managed to keep his entire Cabinet intact through his first 2 years in office. All good things must come to an end, however, and the news broke yesterday that the President would be bidding adieu to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who is expected to leave in order to take over the NHL Players Association. Neither the White House, nor Walsh, was willing to comment about the situation yesterday, but the news is well sourced. It also can't be a coincidence that Walsh served as the designated survivor last night, since this will be his last chance to do so.

Running the Department of Labor is a pretty tough job, and that's certainly been true for Walsh, who was stretched to the breaking point in trying to resolve the recent railway strike. Labor secretaries often leave their posts early for the greener pastures of academia, white-shoe law, lobbying, or a high-profile private sector job. Taking over the NHLPA will not only allow Walsh to get back to his roots as a labor organizer, it will also come with a rather hefty pay raise. If Walsh gets the same paycheck as the man he's replacing (Donald Fehr), then he's in line for a pay increase of 1,546% ($226,300 to $3.5 million). Not too shabby.

It is probable that there will be other Cabinet/Cabinet-level departures in the near future. This is about the time on the calendar when members of the administration are expected to either commit to staying on through the election, or to exit, stage right. Chief of Staff Ron Klain already said that he will resign, and it would be very unusual for there to be only two ship jumpers. In case you are wondering, Barack Obama lost four high-level people at around this point in his presidency (Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee). Obama also saw his first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, depart before the 2010 midterms in order to run for the mayoralty of Chicago. (Z)

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