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Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick

Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick
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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to advance President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Interior Department, Tommy Beaudreau.

The panel voted 18 to 1 to advance Beaudreau's nomination, with only Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are 'insufficient' Senate chaos: Johnson delays exit as votes pushed to Friday MORE (R-Utah) voting against.

Beaudreau, a lawyer and former Obama administration official, was widely expected to get some bipartisan support, as he’s seen as a moderate compromise after the White House pulled its initial pick for the post.

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The Senate panel’s top Democrat and Republican, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals Ocasio-Cortez: 'Old way of politics' influences Manchin's thinking The Memo: Democratic tensions will only get worse as left loses patience MORE (D-W.Va.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate passes long-delayed China bill OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Republicans grill Biden public lands agency pick over finances, advocacy MORE (R-Wyo.), both praised Beaudreau in speeches before the vote Thursday.

Manchin said the nominee has the “knowledge, the experience, the temperament and the skills” for the job, while Barrasso said that Beaudreau “has the first-hand appreciation of the benefits that energy production on public lands affords to millions of Americans.”

The GOP senator also said that Beaudreau could serve as a "voice of reason" in the department. 

However, Beaudreau has faced some criticism from progressive groups, who have pointed to his work for French oil giant Total and multinational mining company BHP. 

Asked about the criticism during his confirmation hearing, Beaudreau said he was “a little bewildered” by some of it because of “what I believe was a very strong track record during the Obama administration on conservation.”

His nomination came after the White House dropped its support for Elizabeth Klein, now a senior counselor to Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandRising crime rejuvenates gun control debate on campaign trail It's Congress' turn to stop Arctic Refuge oil drilling Overnight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale MORE, for the role after reported concerns from Senate moderates that she was too progressive. 

Beaudreau previously held several roles at Interior under the Obama administration, including serving as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.