- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — Despite opposition in the Senate from some GOP senators, Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to become the next secretary of the U.S Department of the Interior is on track for a final vote on Monday. A tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland is poised to become the first Native American to serve in a presidential cabinet.
On Tuesday, Republican senators Steve Daines (MT) and Cynthia Lummis (WY) placed Haaland’s nomination on hold. Daines, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, cited Haaland’s opposition to pipelines and fossil fuels as his reasoning.
"Despite Republican obstruction, Rep. Haaland will be confirmed," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. Schumer stated on the Senate floor that the body will begin Haaland’s confirmation process this week.
"She would be the first Native American Cabinet member of any agency and the first Indigenous secretary of the Department of Interior, a profoundly historic moment given the troubled relationship between the federal government and tribal nations,” Schumer continued.
Haaland faced contentious questioning during her two-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee two weeks ago on her positions on fossil fuels, fracking and endangered species. Her support as a water protector at Standing Rock, when tribal nations and allies opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline, was mentioned during the hearing.
With Democrats in control of the Senate, Haaland’s confirmation is not in trouble. She has the support of every Democratic senator and two GOP senators have said they are supporting her confirmation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, voted last week to advance Haaland’s confirmation to the full Senate from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last week said she will vote to confirm her.
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