Schumer moves to break GOP holds on Haaland

JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico, testifies during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2021. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday moved to break a GOP blockade over Rep. Deb Haaland’s (D-N.M.) nomination to lead the Interior Department.

Schumer said the Senate will start the process of confirming her this week, an indication that a final vote on her nomination isn’t likely until the following 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 said.

“Despite Republican obstruction, Rep. Haaland will be confirmed,” he added.

Schumer’s decision comes after GOP Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) said they had placed a hold on Haaland’s nomination.

Because she needs only 50 votes to be confirmed, the GOP opposition won’t ultimately sink her nomination. Instead, it will force Schumer to eat up days of floor time before getting to a final confirmation vote for Haaland.

The New Mexico Democrat faced a contentious confirmation hearing in which Senate Republicans questioned her on fracking, fossil fuels and a past tweet in which she said Republicans don’t believe in science.

Her nomination got a significant boost when Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) both offered their support for her. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also supported her in committee.

Tags Cabinet secretary Charles Schumer Cynthia Lummis Deb Haaland Interior Department Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski New Mexico Senate confirmation Steve Daines Susan Collins

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