Know a Nominee: Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior
Do you support or oppose Haaland’s nomination?
by Causes | 3.15.21
- The Senate on Monday voted 51-40 to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to serve as Secretary of the Interior. She will soon resign from her seat in the House to serve in the Cabinet.
- Four Republican senators crossed the aisle to vote in favor of Haaland's nomination in what was otherwise a party-line vote: Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
- The Senate on Thursday voted 54-42 to limit debate on Deb Haaland's nomination to be Secretary of the Interior, setting a confirmation vote when the chamber reconvenes on Monday.
- All Democrats were joined by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in voting to advance Haaland's nomination.
The Senate is expected to vote in the near future on the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to be Secretary of the Interior, beginning with a procedural vote on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know about the nominee.
Who is Deb Haaland?
- Haaland, 60, is a congresswoman who has represented the Albuquerque area 1st district of New Mexico since 2019. She would resign her seat in the House if confirmed to the Cabinet by the Senate.
- Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, a distinction shared with Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS). If confirmed, she would become the first American Indian to lead the Dept. of the Interior, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Haaland would also be the second Native American member of the Cabinet, joining Vice President Charles Curtis who was in office from 1929 to 1933.
- Prior to her election to Congress, Haaland served as the chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015-2017. She previously served in political roles for the Democratic Party in New Mexico and ran an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2014.
- Haaland earned her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and her law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
What’s the outlook for her nomination?
- Several House Republicans have expressed support for her nomination, including Dean of the House Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.
- During her confirmation hearings, senators from energy-producing states expressed concern with Haaland’s opposition to fossil fuels and her record as one of the most progressive members of the House.
- Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both voted in favor of Haaland’s nomination despite expressing misgivings about her positions on the oil, gas, and coal industries.
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 11-9 to advance Haaland’s nomination, with Murkowski the only Republican senator to vote in favor.
What does it mean for the Dept. of the Interior?
- The Dept. of the Interior (DOI) is responsible for the management and conservation of the majority of federal land and natural resources, in addition to administering programs related to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and U.S. territories.
- The National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are some of the well-known agencies that fall under its control.
- The Dept. of the Interior’s annual budget is about $13 billion, which goes to employing DOI’s 70,000 resource-management personnel and scientists. It also gets help from over 280,000 volunteers who assist in keeping the nation’s federal lands and parks well-maintained.
- Because most of the land managed by the DOI is in the Western states, secretaries are typically from the West: all but two individuals to serve as DOI secretary since 1949 have from states west of the Mississippi River.
— Eric Revell
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