Haaland faces contentious confirmation fight 

Haaland faces contentious confirmation fight 
© Greg Nash

Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandGOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Trump promises to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski Indigenous leadership is a linchpin to solving environmental crises MORE (D-N.M.) faces what could be a contentious hearing on Tuesday as she seeks to convince lawmakers to confirm her to lead the Interior Department. 

Haaland would be the first Native American woman to lead the department and her nomination has prompted excitement for its historic nature. She also has huge support from progressives, as Haaland has backed the Green New Deal and has opposed a controversial method of oil and gas extraction called fracking.

But those positions will cost her support from Republicans and perhaps conservative Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  All eyes on Manchin after COVID-19 aid passes Senate Justice: 'I'm not going to get in a food fight with Joe Manchin' on use of CARES Act funds MORE (W.Va.), a key swing vote in the 50-50 Senate.


Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told CNN on Monday his committee is “very open to hearing her and hopefully she'll have a good hearing" but would not explicitly state his position on the nomination. Haaland is scheduled to sit before the committee on Tuesday.

If Manchin ultimately decides to vote against President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE's nominee, Democrats would have to try to dig up support from some moderate Republicans such as Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Trump promises to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill MORE (R-Alaska). 

Haaland is supported by at least one Republican in the House, Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote Key Democrat unveils plan to restore limited earmarks Haaland courts moderates during tense Senate confirmation hearing MORE (R-Alaska), who is set to introduce her at Tuesday’s hearing.

If confirmed, Haaland would lead a department that has significant responsibility for the country’s 574 federally recognized tribes. 

Some of her supporters have sought to underscore the significance of this point when urging lawmakers to support her, and some Republicans, like Murkowski, have large native constituencies. 


In Haaland’s opening statement, which was released on Monday, she acknowledged the importance of fossil fuels, a point which could be aimed at getting more reluctant members on her side. 

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services,” the copy of her statement said. 

“But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed,” Haaland plans to add. “Together we can work to position our nation and all of its people for success in the future, and I am committed to working cooperatively with all stakeholders, and all of Congress, to strike the right balance going forward. “