WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday moved to bring a final vote on President Joe Biden’s nomination to head the Interior Department after two Republicans pushed for more debate on her positions on oil and gas development.
Republican Senators Steve Daines and Cynthia Lummis earlier in the day put holds on Biden’s nomination of U.S. Representative Deb Haaland to head the department, in a move that likely only delays her confirmation for a few days until next week.
Haaland is expected to be confirmed by the Senate as at least two Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, support her nomination.
“Despite Republican obstruction, Representative Haaland will be confirmed by the Senate,” Schumer said. If approved, Haaland would become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.
The Democrats effectively control the Senate. There are 48 Democratic senators and two independents who caucus with the Democrats vs. 50 Republican senators. Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, holds the tie-breaking vote.
Republicans have pressed Haaland on statements that were critical of fossil fuels.
“Her record is clear: she opposes pipelines & fossil fuels, ignores science when it comes to wildlife management & wants to ban trapping on public lands,” Daines said in a release.
At her Senate hearings, Haaland said it would be Biden’s agenda, including a pause on new drilling leases on federal lands, that she would pursue if confirmed, not her own.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)