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 BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats 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 LeeSchumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party Manchin faces pressure from Gillibrand, other colleagues on paid family leave 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 ManchinSenate Democrats eye talking filibuster NAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Schumer tees up showdown on voting rights, filibuster MORE (D-W.Va.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection Biden's court picks face fierce GOP opposition 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 HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden officials announce clean energy plans Biden administration announces actions bolstering clean energy  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.