Senator Susan Collins (Maine) will vote to confirm Home Secretary Deb Haaland’s candidate, making her the first GOP senator to publicly support President Joe Biden’s historic choice for the post.
“After reviewing the qualifications of Representative Deb Haaland, reviewing her hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and meeting with her personally, I will vote to confirm her as Secretary of the Home Office” Collins said in a statement Wednesday. first obtained through HuffPost.
Haaland, who is currently a New Mexico Democratic congressman, is awaiting his vote from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This vote is scheduled for Thursday and it should move forward. From there, his nomination will go to the entire Senate for a final confirmation vote.
Collins said that while she and Haaland “certainly have different views on some issues,” she appreciates the MP’s commitment to working with Republicans and her understanding of environmental and tribal issues.
“His role in helping to guide the Great American Outdoors Act through the House will be beneficial to the Department’s implementation of this landmark conservation law, which I co-sponsored,” said Collins. “I also appreciate Representative Haaland’s willingness to support issues of importance to the State of Maine, such as Acadia National Park, as well as her in-depth knowledge of tribal issues, which has earned her tribal support at across the country, including those in Maine. “
She added: “Representative Haaland has promised to be bipartisan in her new role at the Home Office, and I look forward to working with her.”
If confirmed, Haaland will make history as the country’s very first Native American Cabinet Secretary. His appointment as head of the Home Office is particularly important given his responsibility to manage the country’s natural resources and honor the federal government’s commitments to the tribes, which he has failed to do. time and again.
The seismic shift of putting an indigenous woman in charge of the department in charge of monitoring public lands – from which the tribes were forcibly evicted by the US government – is not lost on Haaland.
“The symbolism alone, yes, it’s deep,” she told HuffPost in November, when her name was pitched as a potential candidate.
At his confirmation hearing last week, Republican Senators John Barrasso (Wyo.) And Steve Daines (Mont.) Attempted to label Haaland “radical” for wanting to protect public lands and air as secretary inside. They also taught him the importance of following science, despite their own history of rejecting basic climate science.
But critics of Haaland’s GOP in the Senate know she is neither extreme nor anti-science. They watched Conservative Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) rave about his record of bipartisanship during his Senate confirmation hearing. They may even know that Haaland, former chair of the House natural resources subcommittee with oversight authority for the Home Office, has introduced more bipartisan bills than any of her colleagues in the House. the Chamber in 2019.
What is really happening is that senators like Barrasso and Daines have taken millions of dollars from the oil and gas industry, which wants to expand drilling on the same public lands that Biden and Haaland want to protect.
Haaland is almost certain to be confirmed. The question is simply how many Republicans will support his historic nomination along the way.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) could be Haaland’s second GOP supporter, given her long history of working with the tribes of Alaska and their very strong support for Haaland. She also knows that she would not have her seat in the Senate without them.
The Alaska senator remains silent for the time being.
“The senator is still in the process of selecting the candidate and has not announced how she will vote,” Murkowski spokeswoman Hannah Ray said on Tuesday.
Calling all super HuffPost fans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost