Anti-Gun Deb Haaland Confirmed 51-40 as Interior Boss
President Biden's nominee for Interior Secretary, staunchly opposed by Republicans and firearms groups, was confirmed by the slimmest margin possible in the Senate on Monday.
Rep. Debra Haaland, a former chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico that has represented her state in Congress since 2019, was confirmed in a 51-40 vote this week to become Biden's head of the Department of the Interior. Notably, with several Dems shying away from the vote, three Republicans – Linsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, and Dan Sullivan – crossed the aisle to cinch Haaland's appointment.
A progressive supporter of the Green New Deal and a staunch advocate of gun control to include a proposed federal ban on "assault weapons," Haaland was ranked as among the top 10 most liberal members of the 238-seat House of Representatives.
During her confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month, Haaland ducked questions on protecting hunting and trapping on public lands – she would control some 20 percent of the land in the country – and was non-committal on the continued use of traditional ammunition on such land. During the Obama administration, Interior officials attempted to end the use of lead ammo and fishing tackle on some public lands, only to have the arbitrary directive countermanded by the Trump administration.
Haaland's nomination was opposed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
"Haaland has a history of co-sponsoring and voting for legislation that would place scientifically unwarranted restrictions on hunting healthy populations of grizzly bears, gray wolves, and countless other wildlife species, including in other countries," noted the NRA. "She has also called for banning trapping on all public lands, not for scientific conservation reasons, but, as she stated in her testimony because her “constituents were concerned about that issue….”'