Senate committees plan confirmation hearings Wednesday for three of Biden's Cabinet picks, including William J. Burns, whom Biden has nominated to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He had beforehand stated that he was undecided on her bid.
"You'll find out that she will listen to you". Shane Morigeau, a Democrat and a member of the Salish and Kootenai tribes, in an interview.
In her opening statement, Haaland told lawmakers that as the daughter of a Pueblo woman, she learned early to value hard work. Many senators raised issues with her past statements about pipelines, fossil fuels and public lands policy, including U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the committee.
Last week, Manchin said he would oppose Biden Office of Management and Budget pick Neera Tanden, putting her confirmation at risk. She also served as the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., was less impressed.
She replied that Biden's vision - not hers - will set the course for Interior.
Republicans on the committee also frequently brought up Biden's executive order that placed a moratorium on new leases for gas and oil development on public lands and cited job losses in their states. The Laguna Pueblo member and two-term congresswoman often draws on her experience as a single mother and the teachings of her ancestors as a reminder that action the US takes on climate change, the environment and sacred sites will affect generations to come.
Democratic Montana Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, called the Republican opposition a "political ploy" familiar to Native Americans who have entered politics, where there exists a "preconceived notion from others that you're 25-30 percent dumber".
Haaland invited her House Republican colleague Don Young, R-Alaska, to introduce her.
And they said the reflexive GOP opposition is impossible to separate from the federal government's actions over many generations that marginalized and isolated tribal communities.
Manchin's "sure" vote is seen as essential to Haaland's affirmation as a result of he's a supporter of fossil gasoline improvement who wields vital energy in a U.S. Congress break up 50-50 amongst Democrats and Republicans, which means each Democratic backer counts. But she also said she felt an uglier sentiment underlying their comments. "I'm just concerned about receiving this nomination", he said.
"If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone", she said. "This is about the Congresswoman's radical views that are completely out of touch with Montana and the nation".
"Being a secretary is far different from being a member of Congress", she said. "Her hostile record towards energy, natural resources and sportsmen issues are very concerning".
At other times, Haaland recited generalities.
Haaland pledged to lead the Interior Department with honor and integrity and said she will be "a fierce advocate for our public lands". "That includes opposition to important energy infrastructure like pipelines, as well as her support for policies like the Green New Deal, which raises prices for consumers while increasing our reliance on foreign energy sources".
"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 a statement.
On Wednesday, he is scheduled to testify before the Finance Committee.
Not all Republicans have opposed Haaland's nomination.
Despite Young's endorsement, Haaland faced an aggressive two hours of questioning and criticism from Republican senators on the committee.
Republicans have been battling Biden's sweeping plan to combat global warming and expand renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. "It's not going to be a permanent thing where we're restricting all these lands". "Folks to some degree are afraid of change". It's a paradigm shift. A letter signed by almost 500 national and regional organizations calls her "a proven leader and the right person to lead the charge against the existential threats of our time, " including climate change and racial justice issues on federal lands.