Energy & Environment

Daines seeks to block Haaland confirmation to Interior

Bonnie Cash

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has indicated that he will try to block the confirmation of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) as Interior secretary. 

“I’m deeply concerned with the Congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America, including her support for the Green New Deal and President Biden’s oil and gas moratorium, as well as her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline,” the senator said in a statement following a conversation with Haaland. 

“I’m not convinced the Congresswoman can divorce her radical views and represent what’s best for Montana and all stakeholders in the West. Unless my concerns are addressed, I will block her confirmation,” he added.

Daines could stall the nomination by placing a hold preventing her from advancing through a procedural vote and instead forcing a cloture vote, which could take a significant amount of time.

Haaland is likely to ultimately prevail though, as only a simple majority would be needed to eventually get her nomination to the floor.

Haaland was elected to the House in 2018, and her nomination to lead the federal lands agency delighted progressives. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American to lead the Interior Department.

She’s not the only nominee whose confirmation could face speed bumps.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday placed a hold preventing the Senate from voting on the nomination of Gina Raimondo, President Biden’s pick for Commerce secretary, over concerns Raimondo has not clarified her stance on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also placed a hold on Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas was ultimately confirmed after the delay.

Haaland has not yet had a confirmation hearing and it is not clear when the senators will seek to confirm her.

Daines’s statement comes amid tensions between Republican and the White House over its recent energy moves. These include the decision to place a temporary halt on the issuance of new leases to companies who want to drill for oil and gas on public lands and in public waters and the revocation of a key permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Deb Haaland Gina Raimondo Josh Hawley Steve Daines Ted Cruz

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