The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Representative Deb Haaland Faces Confirmation Hearing for Position of Secretary of the Interior
Representative Deb Haaland. (, AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

On December 17th, 2020, then-President-Elect Joe Biden announced his nomination of Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior. This past week, the Congresswoman from New Mexico faced questioning from the Senate before her upcoming confirmation vote. 

Soon, the Senate will engage in debate on whether or not to confirm Haaland’s nomination, and then take a vote. The vote to confirm only requires a simple majority, whereas most votes in the Senate require a two-thirds majority. 

Should she be confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to head a cabinet agency. This position also leads the Bureau of Indian Affairs, so a senate confirmation would allow a Native American to deal with policy regarding other Native Americans. 

Since the Secretary of the Interior also deals with the conservation of federal land and natural resources, much of the questioning Haaland has received from the Senate has had to do with her views on fossil fuels and the climate.

Senators have questioned her about her “history of pushing to shut down fossil fuel drilling and pipelines” which demonstrates views that are more extreme than President Biden’s. However, Haaland has stated that should she be nominated, she would carry out the agenda of the President, rather than her own.

It is expected that the eventual senate confirmation vote will go down party lines, with democrats narrowly controlling the vote to confirm Haaland’s nomination. One of the Democratic Party’s most moderate Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has stated that he will vote to confirm Haaland. 

Being from a state with a fossil fuel-driven economy, Manchin often sides with Republicans when it comes to energy issues. 

His vote to confirm Representative Haaland will serve as somewhat of a deciding one, as there is not much room for voting against party lines for either party.

Haaland’s confirmation hearing ended on Wednesday without a vote to confirm. The Senate will likely hold further proceedings shortly.

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