Energy & Environment

Graham, 3 other GOP senators signal possible support for Haaland confirmation

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Greg Nash

Four Republican senators, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska), have signaled they could vote with Democrats to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department. 

Graham and Sullivan were joined by fellow Republicans Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) in supporting the advancement during the procedural vote. Murkowski and Collins had previously announced that they would support the nomination. 

Votes on procedural measures ahead of a confirmation vote are often viewed as previews of what final vote tallies could look like, although they’re not guaranteed to be identical. 

A spokesperson for Sullivan indicated in an email that the senator hadn’t made his decision on the nomination yet. 

“Senator Sullivan had another hour-long meeting with Congresswoman Haaland yesterday and is following up on numerous commitments Haaland has made to him and continuing to evaluate her responses to questions he has raised,” spokesperson Nate Adams said. 

The nomination has become a political flashpoint, as supporters hail the historic nature of appointing a Native American woman to the Cabinet, particularly overseeing a department with significant responsibility to tribes, while opponents have gone after her stances on fossil fuels. 

Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) placed holds on her nomination, citing her stance on fossil fuels.

During her confirmation hearing, Haaland stressed during her Senate confirmation hearing that she’ll be implementing Biden’s agenda, not her own, and said fossil fuels will still play a role in the country’s energy mix.

“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,” she said at the time. “But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”

Jordain Carney contributed.

Updated 6:12 p.m.

Tags confirmation Cynthia Lummis Dan Sullivan Deb Haaland Interior Department Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Senate Steve Daines Susan Collins

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