Rep. Deb Haaland (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 Manchin (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 Biden’s nominee, Democrats would have to try to dig up support from some moderate Republicans such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). 

Haaland is supported by at least one Republican in the House, Rep. Don Young (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. “

Tags Alaska confirmation Deb Haaland Don Young fracking Green New Deal Hearing Interior Joe Biden Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski Native American Senate Steve Daines

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