Two senators put hold on Biden's pick Haaland to head Interior Department

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. February 23, 2021. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senators Steve Daines and Cynthia Lummis on Tuesday put holds on President Joe Biden’s nomination of Representative Deb Haaland to be secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, saying they want more debate on her positions on oil and gas development.

Despite the holds, Haaland is expected to be confirmed by the Senate as at least two Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, support her nomination. If approved, Haaland would become the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency.

But the holds open up debate on her nomination, which could delay the approval.

Republicans have pressed her 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.

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