Denis McDonough was sworn in as the Veterans Affairs secretary after the Senate confirmed his appointment. He’s the seventh of President Biden’s cabinet-level appointees to be confirmed. His confirmation easily passed the Senate with 87 in favor and only seven against.

McDonough was previously the chief of staff during former President Barack Obama’s second term and also worked as deputy national security adviser. The Biden administration continues to bring in members from the Obama years with whom the President feels comfortable. 

Only the second VA secretary to have never served in the military, McDonough has called his appointment the “honor of my lifetime [sic] to join the VA workforce in serving veterans.” However, President Biden said that McDonough’s extensive government experience has more than qualified him for the job.

McDonough said he will “fight like hell” for veterans’ issues. He will face a multitude of challenges as the 11th secretary of veterans affairs, not the least of which will be the task of vaccinating millions of veterans and VA healthcare workers against COVID-19 and treating those already infected with the virus.