Manchin Throws Support Behind Interior Secretary Nominee After Tanden Opposition

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), nominee for Secretary of the Interior, greets Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), nominee for Secretary of the Interior, greets Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Capitol Hill February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Haaland would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Wednesday announced his support of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to lead the Interior Department under the Biden administration. Manchin’s support for Haaland likely secures her confirmation as the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position.

Manchin’s support for Haaland’s confirmation comes on the heels of his opposition to Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee for OMB. Democrats have zero margin of error in the Senate to confirm Biden’s Cabinet picks, given the chamber’s 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris role as a tiebreaker.

Manchin, who supports fossil fuel development and hails from a coal mining state, said in a Wednesday statement that his support for Haaland’s confirmation was largely based on her “strong commitment to bipartisanship.”

“While we do not agree on every issue, (Haaland) reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence,” Manchin said in his statement. “For all these reasons, I believe Deb Haaland will be a Secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her.”

Manchin’s statement was issued after he oversaw the two-day confirmation hearing for Haaland this week as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Republicans zeroed in on Haaland’s past remarks opposing fossil fuel projects and the role she is expected to play in Biden’s efforts to address climate change as a top priority.

Earlier Wednesday, Haaland argued during the second day of hearings that serving as the country’s interior secretary would give her a different role compared to her duties as a member of Congress.

“The role of a congresswoman in one district in the country is much different than the role of a secretary who is fighting and working for every single American and all of our public lands across the country,” Haaland said. “Those are two different things, I recognize that.”

Read Manchin’s statement below:

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