March 4 (UPI) -- The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted Thursday to support the nomination of Rep. Debra Haaland as interior secretary to the full Senate.
The panel voted 11-9 in favor of the New Mexican Democrat's nomination. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, sided with Democrats in the vote.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that though he's personally had issues with some of Haaland's past statements and policy stances, he voted to advance her nomination after she promised to work with him to extend Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation fees beyond 2021.
"As a former governor, I understand the importance of having one's own team in place," Manchin said. "It is especially important that President [Joe] Biden has the department heads he wants, since they make up his Cabinet.
"He is trying to bind together a nation split by deep political, racial, social and economic divisions."
Manchin added that "it is long past time to give a Native American woman a seat at the Cabinet table."
During Haaland's confirmation hearing last week, Republicans appeared concerned about her views on fossil energy. A supporter of the Green New Deal and reducing the use of crude oil, she said in her opening remarks that she's open to finding a balance between the two.
"There's no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come," Haaland said. "I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services.
"But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed."