- By Jenna Kunze
WASHINGTON — When Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines , questioned Rep. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) on why she co-sponsored a 2019 bill to protect a healthy population of Montana grizzly bears in perpetuity, Haaland responded: “I imagine, at the time, I was caring about the bears.”
The comment came from Tuesday morning’s confirmation hearing, when Rep. Haaland sat for more than two hours of questions from a bipartisan group of 20 senators who will determine whether or not to confirm her to lead the Interior Department as the first Native American cabinet member.
As a result, a new hashtag emerged on twitter, #BearsforDeb. The new page is a spinoff of the popular hashtag—#DebforInterior— ushering in support for the Representative’s confirmation amid pushback from several Republican lawmakers. The group’s bio reads: “#BearsForDeb because Deb is for the Bears!! Proud ursine relatives bearing down for #DebForInterior!!”
The original hashtag has garnered more than 26,000 followers, thanks to its founder Julian Noise Cat, vice president of a progressive think tank who was among the first to suggest Rep. Haaland to lead the Interior.
One user wrote on Twitter, “Just when I thought the #DebforInterior set the gold standard for #MemeCampaigns, it is only outdone by #BearsforDeb.”
Viewers across the country pointed to the bear comment as a moment of lightness in an otherwise intense hearing.
Senators from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will resume Haaland’s hearing tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for additional questioning.
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