Trump Pick For Interior Secretary Will Reshuffle House GOP Leadership

Peter Foley/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to lead the Department of the Interior, unnamed sources told Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and others Friday.

McMorris Rodgers is a reliable advocate for increased access to oil and gas drilling on millions of acres of federally owned land, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Department of the Interior also administers programs relating to Native American tribes. Among McMorris Rodgers’ likely priorities will be attempting to meet Trump’s repeated campaign promise to re-energize coal production in the U.S., despite falling prices for coal worldwide.

She has been critical of efforts from the Obama administration to govern carbon emissions. The League of Conservation Voters gave her a zero on its recent scorecard of congressional environmental records, according to Reuters.

As House GOP Conference Chair, the Washington congresswoman is the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.

Washington state law allows the state’s governor, Jay Inslee (D), to determine the date of a special election to fill McMorris Rodgers’ seat. In the meantime, her possible departure for the Trump administration has spurred jockeying from congressional colleagues.

Politico reported Thursday night that Reps. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Mia Love (R-UT) and Doug Collins (R-GA) are exploring bids to take her spot as conference chair. Walters confirmed her ambitions in a statement to Politico, saying she would “absolutely run” for chair if McMorris Rodgers was confirmed. Collins told Politico she would “would consider” running for the position.