Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to advance President BidenJoe BidenBiden says Beau’s assessment of first 100 days would be ‘Be who you are’ Biden: McCarthy’s support of Cheney ouster is ‘above my pay grade’ Conservative group sues over prioritization of women, minorities for restaurant aid MORE’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Interior Department, Tommy Beaudreau.

The panel voted 18 to 1 to advance Beaudreau’s nomination, with only Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden’s FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden’s FTC nominee Lina Khan GOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences MORE (R-Utah) voting against.

Beaudreau, a lawyer and former Obama administration official, was widely expected to get some bipartisan support, as he’s seen as a moderate compromise after the White House pulled its initial pick for the post.


The Senate panel’s top Democrat and Republican, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIs the Constitution in the way of DC statehood? Biden ‘encouraged’ by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Joe Manchin is wrong — D.C. statehood is constitutional MORE (D-W.Va.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Democrats, GOP agree on one thing: They’re skeptical of a deal Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE (R-Wyo.), both praised Beaudreau in speeches before the vote Thursday.

Manchin said the nominee has the “knowledge, the experience, the temperament and the skills” for the job, while Barrasso said that Beaudreau “has the first-hand appreciation of the benefits that energy production on public lands affords to millions of Americans.”

The GOP senator also said that Beaudreau could serve as a “voice of reason” in the department. 

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However, Beaudreau has faced some criticism from progressive groups, who have pointed to his work for French oil giant Total and multinational mining company BHP. 

Asked about the criticism during his confirmation hearing, Beaudreau said he was “a little bewildered” by some of it because of “what I believe was a very strong track record during the Obama administration on conservation.”

His nomination came after the White House dropped its support for Elizabeth Klein, now a senior counselor to Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandInterior secretary approves new Cherokee constitution providing citizenship rights for freedmen Carter sworn in as House member to replace Richmond, padding Democrats’ majority Biden administration approves major offshore wind project MORE, for the role after reported concerns from Senate moderates that she was too progressive. 

Beaudreau previously held several roles at Interior under the Obama administration, including serving as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.