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Schumer Vows to Push Through 'Republican Obstruction' and Confirm Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary

The Senate majority leader said he "just filed cloture to move ahead" with the New Mexico congresswoman's nomination.

Deb Haaland, nominee to be Interior Secretary, attends President Joe Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of the interior, would be the first Native American to serve in a U.S. Cabinet post. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images) 

As Republican U.S. senators continued attempts to obstruct Rep. Deb Haaland's appointment as interior secretary, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday moved to bring the New Mexico congresswoman's confirmation to a final vote. 

Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor that the upper chamber will begin Haaland's confirmation process this week, with a final vote on the matter likely to happen the following week, and that he would "file cloture on her nomination" following his remarks. 

On Tuesday, GOP Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) placed holds on Haaland's nomination, with Daines citing her opposition to "pipelines [and] fossil fuels" as a leading reason why he's trying to stall her confirmation. 

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Undaunted, Schumer said that "despite Republican obstruction, Rep. Haaland will be confirmed," adding that "she would be the first Native American Cabinet member of any agency and the first Indigenous secretary of the Department of Interior, a profoundly historic moment given the troubled relationship between the federal government and tribal nations." 

Schumer's confidence is rooted in the knowledge that with Democrats effectively controlling the Senate, Haaland has enough votes to be confirmed. In addition to Haaland having the support of every member of the Democratic caucus, Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have said they will vote to approve her appointment. 

Daines' opposition to Haaland has been blasted as hypocritical, as critics have noted a 2017 interview with Explore Big Sky in which he said that "historically the Senate has given the president the Cabinet that he or she chooses."

"I think whether it's a Republican or a Democrat, generally we should be getting behind the president after an election," Daines asserted at the time. 

The Guardian reported last week that Republicans who oppose Haaland's nomination "have received significant campaign contributions from oil and gas political action committees and employees, and some are personally invested in the industry." 

Progressive Democratic lawmakers have countered that the reasons why Republicans are dead-set against Haaland's appointment are the same reasons why she should be confirmed without delay. After Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) referenced a February Wall Street Journal article highlighting Haaland's participation in anti-pipeline protests and her opposition to fracking, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) tweeted: "Thank God. Confirm her immediately."

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