Deb Haaland Confirmation

On to the Full Senate

On February 23 and 24, New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland, nominee for Secretary of the Interior, faced the Senate Energy Committee for her confirmation hearing. Going into the hearing, Haaland had to ease Republicans’ and moderate Democrats’ concerns about her stance on oil and gas. Haaland passed the committee on Thursday by an 11-9 vote. If confirmed by the senate, Haaland will be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

Much of Haaland’s confirmation hearing was focused on the oil and gas industry. The Energy Committee is made up of a lot of senators from states whose economies are largely funded by oil and gas, including New Mexico. Chairman Joe Manchin (WV), a critical Democrat for Haaland’s confirmation, had expressed his reservations about Haaland before the hearing. Afterward, he announced that he would vote to confirm her. Many other members of the committee voiced their concerns about her record, including her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline. When asked if President Biden’s executive order pausing new oil and gas leases on public land would turn into a full ban, Haaland stressed the importance of working together, but also said she would stand by the president to help carry out his agenda.

The confirmation vote in the full Senate has yet to be scheduled. Haaland is expected to be confirmed, backed by all 50 Senate Democrats and Republican Senator Susan Collins.