This story is a staff report from The Paper.


The Reuters News Service is reporting that New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM01) has emerged as President-elect Biden’s pick to lead the sprawling Department of Interior, with at least one source saying the decision had been made and an announcement was “imminent.”

New Mexicans have been heavily-favored to lead the department responsible for overseeing public lands and Indian affairs. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich were mentioned early for the position. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was offered the position last week but declined, according to multiple reports.

If selected, Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet member in history.

According to a Tuesday afternoon report from Reuters:

Two of the sources familiar with the proceedings said Biden’s team was close to finalizing the decision on Haaland but weighing concerns about the loss of a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats are hanging on to a slim majority. The third source said the decision was made and that an announcement was imminent.

Moments after Reuters published their report, Bloomberg reported that Biden’s imminent pick of Haaland was drawing pushback from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in Congress:

But top House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, have warned the Biden-Harris transition team against picking another Democrat for a cabinet post.

Democrats will enter 2021 with the narrowest majority in over 100-years. Biden’s pick of other Democratic congressional members including Representatives Marsha Fudge and Cedric Richmond for other cabinet posts leave Pelosi with a razor-thin margin.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, west of Albuquerque. She previously served as chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and won election to Congress in 2018.

If Haaland were to leave her Congressional seat it would trigger a special election within 90 days to fill her seat.

Read more from The Paper. about Deb Haaland: