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Senate swiftly confirms Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

The big picture: The confirmation came just hours after Democrats took back the majority in the Senate. Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Alex Padilla (D-Ca.) were sworn-in on Wednesday afternoon.

  • The Senate split is now 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris presiding as the tiebreaker.

What to watch: Secretary of the Treasury nominee Janet Yellen is expected to be another priority for confirmations, with much of the responsibilities for COVID-19 economic stimulus falling on the Treasury.

  • A vote is also expected tomorrow on whether to grant Secretary of Defense nominee Lloyd Austin a waiver to serve in the role.
  • Austin needs the waiver because he has not been out of the military for more than seven years.

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