Biden selects extra Obama veterans for key roles: Denis McDonough of VA and Susan Rice as home advisor

Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama's White House Chief of Staff, appears at Meet the Press in Washington, D.C.

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President-elect Joe Biden has won Denis McDonough, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, as secretary for veterans affairs, Biden's transition team said Thursday.

The McDonoughs selection was revealed as part of recent additions to key positions in the upcoming Biden administration, including former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as Director of the White House Home Affairs Council.

The announcement also revealed Biden's selection of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and trade attorney Katherine Tai as US trade representative.

In less than six weeks, until Biden officially replaces President Donald Trump in the White House, the new administration is sending clear signals that it will prioritize candidates with extensive government and political experience to lead them.

McDonough, 51, was Obama's chief of staff throughout the former President's second term. McDonough had previously served as Obama's deputy national security advisor and chief of staff of the National Security Council.

Rice, 56, a graduate of the Obama administration and former President Bill Clinton, will not require Senate approval to serve as domestic affairs director at the Biden White House. She was US Ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013 when she was selected as National Security Advisor by Obama.

Rice's critics, which include numerous Republican lawmakers, have accused her of misleading the public about the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic building in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed . Rice has defended her track record of the attack, finding that several GOP-led congressional committees have failed to determine that she deliberately misled the public.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice arrives to address the J Street 2018 National Conference on April 16, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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"This dedicated and respected group of officials will bring the highest levels of experience, compassion and integrity to the table to solve problems and expand the opportunities for the American people to face great challenges," Biden said in a statement.

"The roles they will take on are where rubber meets the street – where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people's lives and improve the dignity, justice, security and prosperity of people's daily lives American. "

"This is the right team for this moment in history, and I know that each of these leaders will hit the ground on day one to deal with the interconnected crises families face today," said Biden .

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