With two key Republican women in the Senate now pledging to support Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary, her nomination is almost certain when it reaches the full Senate.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski will cross party lines and buck powerful energy industry interests to support Haaland.
Susan Collins, a Republican Senator from Maine, will also vote for Haaland in the full Senate.
The last hurdle before that Senate vote was approval by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The committee held two days of hearings last week but adjourned without action.
This morning, Senators reconvened to debate and vote.
All eyes were on West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from a coal industry state, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who had been heavily lobbied by energy interests to oppose Haaland.
As chairman, Manchin went first.
Then came Republicans. Predictably, Sen. Barrasso sided with energy interests against her. But Murkowski, representing a state with a high Native American population, seemed swayed by the historic nature of the nomination of the country’s first Native American cabinet official.
New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich got the last word:
By a vote of 11-9, Senators voted “favorably” on the confirmation of Haaland, sending her nomination to the full Senate for a vote sometime soon.
All 10 Senate Energy Committee Democrats, plus Republican Lisa Murkowski. Yes votes include Senator Martin Heinrich and Senators Manchin, Wyden, Cantwell, Sanders, Hirono, King, Cortez Masto, Kelly and Hickenlooper.
9 Republicans. Senators Barrasso, Risch, Lee, Daines, Hoeven, Lankford, Cassidy, Hyde-Smith and Marshall.
Haaland’s confirmation heads to the full Senate where it will be scheduled for a vote. But don’t look for this to happen quickly.
Haaland, still a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is an important Democratic vote for Biden’s agenda and Speaker Pelosi is working to pass a long list of Democratic priorities for in Biden’s first 100 days. In other words, look for Haaland’s final vote to be scheduled sometime next month.