In a vote 51-40, the Senate confirmed Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) as the new secretary of the Interior Department. Nine Senators missed Haaland’s confirmation vote.

Haaland’s confirmation makes her the first Indigenous American federal cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Haaland’s nomination and confirmation also mark a progressive turn for America’s energy dependence and relations with the more than 500 Indigenous nations in America.


“Before America’s public lands were America’s public lands, they were Native American lands, and Deb Haaland will be the first Native American to serve in any president’s Cabinet and the first to serve as the secretary of this department, so that’s kind of a wonderful harmony with history,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) during Haaland’s confirmation hearing.


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Haaland said during her hearing and confirmation that America needs to find a “balance” between fight against climate change and dependence on fossil fuels. To sway critics, Haaland also specified that oil and fossil fuel “[do] and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come.”

From her new official cabinet Twitter account, now-Secretary Haaland shared her thanks with the Senate and Americans who made her nomination and confirmation possible.

While Haaland’s total ‘yea’ votes was 51, several prominent Republicans voted in favor of her confirmation including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

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