Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior

Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior
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The Senate confirmed President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE’s pick for the No. 2 role at the Interior Department on Thursday with broad bipartisan support, but opposition from one progressive and a handful of Republicans.

Senators voted 88-9 to confirm Tommy Beaudreau as deputy Interior Secretary, with eight Republicans and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAngst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Democrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure MORE (I-Vt.) opposing the nomination.

Sanders's office told The Hill that the senator voted against Beaudreau because of his ties to oil companies.


Beaudreau has come under criticism from progressive groups for working with companies like French oil giant Total and multinational mining company BHP.

President Biden nominated Beaudreau after pulling back his previous nominee, Elizabeth Klein, amid reported opposition from Senate moderates.

Moderate Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done MORE (D-W.Va.), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised Beaudreau in a floor speech ahead of Thursday's vote.

“His performance at his nomination hearing demonstrated that he has both a firm grasp of the issues and the ability to listen, learn and work with all sides and to find common sense solutions to difficult problems,” Manchin said.

“Mr. Beaudreau fully understands the role of the Department of the Interior in striking the balance in its dual mission of preserving and protecting our national parks and public lands and providing a large part of the energy and mineral resources that we need to power the nation,” he added.


He’s a lawyer and former Obama administration official who has previously held several roles at the Interior Department. 

He also served as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior chief of staff and acting assistant secretary for land and minerals management.

In his new role, he’ll help oversee the entire department alongside Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy: Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections | Biden to return to pre-Obama water protections | Western governors ask Biden for aid on wildfires Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Interior Department to review proposal for first wind power project off North Carolina coast MORE.

During his confirmation hearing, he said that having served in government, he’s “accepting of the scrutiny and criticism that comes with holding these roles,” when asked about scrutiny from progressives. 

He added that he’s “a little bewildered” by some of the criticism because of “what I believe was a very strong track record during the Obama administration on conservation,” as well as what he described as his “tough but ... fair-minded” reputation as a regulator.

The eight Republicans who voted against his confirmation were Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David Hawley228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Atlanta-area spa shootings suspect set to be arraigned MORE (Mo.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHouse GOP stages mask mandate protest 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Only two people cited by TSA for mask violations have agreed to pay fine Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (Ky.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch MORE (Ala.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (Alaska) and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.).

Updated at 2:39 p.m.