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 MurkowskiModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Trump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances 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 HaalandInterior Department to reconvene council on Native American issues Interior delays consideration of opening public Alaska lands to development Julia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband 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 TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he 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 TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan 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.