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Biden to tap New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary

Election 2020 DNC
Posted at 1:18 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 15:18:52-05

President-elect Joe Biden has selected New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to serve as interior secretary, three people familiar with the matter tell CNN, marking another historic choice by nominating the first Native American to lead the department.

Haaland was picked, in part, because she is someone who has "spent her career fighting for all Americans, including tribal nations, rural communities, and communities of color," according to a person familiar with the decision.

While the Democratic majority in the House is remarkably thin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her blessing to Haaland's selection. She issued a statement on Wednesday, which an aide tells CNN was intended to send a green light to the Biden transition and beyond that she supported her nomination.

"Congresswoman Haaland knows the territory," Pelosi said, "and if she is the President-elect's choice for Interior Secretary, then he will have made an excellent choice."

A source familiar with the push to get Haaland nominated says that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was endorsed by the congresswoman during the presidential primary, offered her support for Haaland privately to Biden.

The Washington Post was first to report Haaland's expected nomination.