indianz · U.S. Senate sets first vote on Deb Haaland #DebForInterior
Indianz.Com Audio: U.S. Senate sets first vote on Deb Haaland #DebForInterior
Senate sets initial vote on Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Indianz.Com

UPDATE:
The U.S. Senate voted 54 to 42 to end debate on Deb Haaland’s nomination to be Secretary of the Interior.

Four Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to advance the nomination. A final vote is still expected on Monday.

• On Clubhouse: Indianz.Com and Friends Listening Room [Audio Only]

The U.S. Senate is slowly but surely moving to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) as Secretary of the Interior.

An initial vote on Haaland’s historic nomination to lead the Department of the Interior takes place on Thursday afternoon. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, said the roll call has been scheduled for 1:30pm Eastern.

The vote is of a procedural nature, on what is known as motion to invoke cloture on the nomination. Schumer filed the motion earlier this week in order to clear Republican objections to Haaland, who is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna.

“Despite Republican obstruction, Representative Haaland will be confirmed by the Senate to be Secretary Haaland,” Schumer said on Tuesday before submitting the motion.

The cloture vote is a crucial step in the process to confirm Haaland to her post in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Holly Cook Macarro, an Indian law and policy expert from the Red Lake Nation, detailed the process in a post on the Data for Progress website.

“Team #DebForInterior: Don’t panic,” Cook Macarro said in a post on social media on Tuesday, explaining that the Senate is moving forward with a final vote on Haaland’s nomination.

Indianz.Com Video: ‘Haaland will be confirmed by the Senate’: Deb Haaland #DebForInterior

Thursday’s roll call is a recorded one. So the outcome will give an indication of which members of the Senate — Democrat and Republican alike — are supporting Haaland.

So far, only Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the Republican minority leader in the chamber, has spoken on the floor about his intent to vote against Haaland. He claimed that her prior support of the Green New Deal, a popular climate change and economic proposal, and her past positions on energy development are out of step with Americans.

“Her record and her views ignore the fact that American energy independence fueled prosperity for the working class and middle class over the last four years,” McConnell said on Wednesday.

But McConnell isn’t the only member of the GOP going against Haaland. Earlier in the week, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) announced their opposition to her nomination.

And last week, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) also said they were going to vote against Haaland. Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming are home to nearly 50 tribal nations and some of the largest reservations in the U.S.

Indianz.Com Video: Senate Republican opposes Deb Haaland #DebForInterior​

Haaland, however, has bipartisan support, an achievement tied to her record of cooperation as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since arriving in the nation’s capital as one of the first two Native women in Congress, she has been able to secure passage of her bills by working across party lines.

“She’ll work for us and she’ll reach across the aisle,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who is the longest serving member of the House, said when he introduced Haaland at her confirmation hearing on February 23.

Sure enough, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has already said she will vote for Haaland, citing the importance of having a Native person in the highest levels of government. And Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) cited Haaland’s “deep knowledge of tribal issues” as a reason for her eventual vote in favor of the nomination.

The final vote is expected to take place in the Senate on Monday. Haaland could then be sworn into her post at the Department of the Interior as soon as Monday or Tuesday.

Once confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native person to lead the the federal agency with the most trust and treaty responsibilities to tribes and their citizens. Interior includes Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the recently-established Bureau of Trust Funds Administration, which is taking over most of the duties previously assigned to the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians.

The department also includes the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, both of which manage cultural, sacred and sensitive lands on ancestral tribal territories.

“This is all of our country. This is our mother,” Haaland said on the second day of her confirmation hearing on February 24.

“It’s difficult to not feel obligated to protect this land,” Haaland added. “I feel like every Indigenous person in this country understands this.”

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We’re getting closer! Join Indianz.Com and friends on Clubhouse as we listen to the first vote on Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior. Then we can talk next steps in this historic moment. #DebForInterior

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Note: Cover photo courtesy House Committee on Natural Resources, Democrats

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Notices
Hearing to Consider the Nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be the Secretary of the Interior (Continued) (February 24, 2021)
Hearing to Consider Nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be the Secretary of the Interior (February 23, 2021)

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