Joe Biden will nominate Representative Deb Haaland (D., N.M.) to be Secretary of Interior, according to multiple reports on Thursday.
The appointment of Haaland to Biden’s cabinet would further thin the Democrats’ majority in the House, posing potential difficulties in passing legislation. Democrats have won 222 confirmed House seats, and are waiting for the results of a recanvassing in New York and several challenges to races in Iowa.
However, the Biden transition team has already announced it will nominate Representatives Cedric Richmond (D., La.) and Marcia Fudge (D., Ohio) to cabinet positions. The addition of Haaland would bring the Democrats’ majority to just 219 seats while waiting for the three empty seats to be filled.
“Two is too many, but three would be even more many,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Mich.) told reporters last week, expressing concern about the number of Biden’s appointments from the House.
Despite the thin majority, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has signed off on the appointments.
“Congresswoman Haaland knows the territory, and if she is the President-elect’s choice for Interior Secretary, then he will have made an excellent choice,” the speaker told reporters on Wednesday.
Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and would be the first Native American to serve as a presidential cabinet secretary if confirmed.
“I come from New Mexico. It’s a big gas and oil state. And I care about every single job,” Haaland told the Washington Post. However, Haaland would need to balance those needs against Biden’s pledge to halt oil and gas drilling on public lands.
A person familiar with the deliberations to pick Haaland told CNN that Haaland was chosen because she “spent her career fighting for all Americans, including tribal nations, rural communities, and communities of color.”