The Senate confirmed New Mexico Democratic Representative Deb Haaland as the new Secretary of the Interior. Haaland is the first American Indian to hold the post. Native American groups applauded her confirmation, but there is controversy over her views on oil and gas leases on federal land and fracking. The vote was 51-40, with four Republicans joining with Democrats in favor of her confirmation. She earned bipartisan support to take over the department that employs a staff of 70,000 people and oversees the country’s natural resources.
The agency manages a total of 50 million acres of land, which is one-fifth of the surface area of the U.S. During the hearing, Haaland emphasized her ability to work across the aisle. During her first year in the House, Haaland introduced more bills with a co-sponsor from another party than any other House freshman.
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