White House withdraws deputy Interior secretary amid reported pushback from Murkowski

White House withdraws deputy Interior secretary amid reported pushback from Murkowski
© Greg Nash

The White House will no longer nominate Elizabeth Klein to fill the No. 2 role at the Interior Department, reportedly after opposition from Alaska Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (R).

Politico reported Monday evening that the White House will pull the nomination amid pushback from Murkowski.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesperson confirmed to The Hill that Klein, who previously worked at the department during the Clinton and Obama administrations, will not be nominated to the role.


The spokesperson did not say whether Murkowski played a role in this decision, but noted that Klein's nomination had not yet been formally sent to the Senate.

According to Politico, Murkowski saw Klein's progressive energy positions as too extreme for the agency.

The Hill has reached out to Murkowski's office for comment.

Murkowski was one of four Republicans who voted to support Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden officials announce clean energy plans Biden administration announces actions bolstering clean energy  MORE's nomination, despite expressing some doubts.

Since Democrats control the Senate by a narrow margin, Klein could have still been confirmed if every member of the party supported her and the White House chose to continue with the nomination.

Murkowski, a centrist Republican, recently faced censure from her own state party due to her vote earlier this year to convict former President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE in his second impeachment trial, an effort that ultimately failed to reach a two-thirds threshold.

The Biden administration previously failed to pass a nominee through the Senate confirmation process following the withdrawal of Neera TandenNeera TandenBiden to sign order to streamline government services to public Politics, media worlds react to Wallace news Biden's head of personnel to leave White House for UNICEF MORE to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over vitriolic social media posts targeting Republicans and progressives.

The White House has yet to name a nominee to replace Tanden as its pick to run OMB. It has also not announced a replacement for Klein.

--Updated on March 24 at 11:12 a.m.