The Senate voted 51–40 to confirm Representative Deb Haaland (D., N.M.) as Secretary of the Interior on Monday evening.
Nine senators were absent from the vote, and four Republicans — Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine — sided with Democrats to approve Haaland’s confirmation. Haaland is the country’s first Native American cabinet secretary.
Most Republicans voted against Haaland, in part due to her opposition to fracking. Haaland said she “wholeheartedly” opposed fracking or drilling on public lands, in a 2019 interview for The Guardian.
“Representative Haaland’s policy views and lack of substantive answers during her confirmation hearing, in my opinion, disqualify her for this job,” Senator John Barrasso, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said on Thursday in remarks reported by CNN.
However, the Energy Committee chairman Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) backed Haaland’s nomination.
“I believe Deb Haaland will be a secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her,” Manchin said in February. “While we do not agree on every issue, she reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence.”
Haaland acknowledged that fossil fuels would continue to remain viable for the foreseeable future in the U.S.
“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come.” Haaland said during her confirmation hearings. However, “our climate challenge must be addressed.”
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