During their confirmation hearings, Senate Republicans attempted — without success — to attack Xavier Becerra and Congresswoman Deb Haaland in an attempt to paint them as “radical” or too partisan 

These attacks fell flat considering that both nominees are known for their bipartisan records in the House and amongst their colleagues

HuffPost: “Haaland’s loudest opponents have indeed been bankrolled in no small part by the oil and gas industry…”

Washington, D.C. – In yesterday’s confirmation hearings for President Biden’s nominees for Health and Human Services (HHS) and Interior, Senate Republicans continued their smear campaign on behalf of their special interest donors. But their attacks against Xavier Becerra and Congresswoman Deb Haaland fell flat, given both of these nominees are qualified and have track records of standing up to special interests and working for the American people.

Read more on GOP senators’ attempts to further obstruct the confirmation of Xavier Becerra and Deb Haaland and why their attacks fall flat: 

  • HuffPost: Rep. Deb Haaland Fends Off Republican Attacks At Contentious Confirmation Hearing

    • “Two weeks before Tuesday’s hearing, GOP lawmakers, including many who have received large sums of money from the oil and gas industry, began signaling they’d vote against her confirmation. Daines and Barrasso dismissed her as “radical,” citing, among other things, her support for reining in fossil fuel development on federal lands. 

    • “It has been all about the extraction industry for the last four years, with [the Bureau of Land Management] practically turning into a real estate department under Trump and giving away public land right and left to the industry and to polluters, with no consequences and no accountability,” Grijalva said on a press call Monday. 

    • “The attacks that have been waged against her have been waged by some of the closest allies of Big Oil,” [Davids] said. “It’s really nothing more than an attempt to protect their bottom line, their special interests. These senators know that Congresswoman Haaland, soon-to-be secretary, will stand up to Big Oil and it scares them. It terrifies them.” 

    • Haaland’s loudest opponents have indeed been bankrolled in no small part by the oil and gas industry, as HuffPost previously reported. If confirmed, Haaland will succeed David Bernhardt, a former oil and agricultural lobbyist, and take over the agency after the Trump administration dismantled environmental safeguards and prioritized energy development over land and species conservation.

  • San Francisco Chronicle: Xavier Becerra survives fireworks-free Senate confirmation hearing

    • “Republicans have called Xavier Becerra a radical leftist, but during his first Senate hearing on his nomination to run the federal Health and Human Services Department, the atmosphere was collegial. Despite weeks of GOP attacks on the California attorney general, his exchanges with lawmakers on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday were polite and largely policy-related.”

  • Las Vegas Sun: GOP smears of Interior nominee are of no service to American people

    • “The GOP’s attack on Haaland, which heated up Tuesday in the first round of her confirmation hearings, is sickening on a lot of levels. It’s clearly a hit job by the fossil fuel industry, which is using the likes of Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Montana Sen. Steve Daines as its muscle in an attempt to maintain its ability to obtain cheap oil and gas leases on public lands.”

  • LA Times: Opinion: The Republicans who confirmed Betsy DeVos have problems with Xavier Becerra? Please

    • “The experience complaint, which at least 11 other Senate Republicans have voiced, seems like a pretext. The real objection appears to be that these Senators don’t like Becerra’s support for abortion rights and Medicare for all, the latter of which is a non-starter for President Biden….those are all policy disputes. And if elections truly matter, senators wouldn’t try to frustrate a new administration’s policies by blocking its nominees.”

  • POLITICO: Tribes see familiar pattern in Haaland opposition

    • “Being a minority person and being a person of color, it makes you wonder if she would get this treatment if she wasn’t a person of color, if she wasn’t Indian and if she wasn’t a woman,” said Montana state Sen. Shane Morigeau, a Democrat and a member of the Salish and Kootenai tribes. “She became an easy target because we haven’t gotten to this place in our country where we give — especially women and people of color — a fair shot.”

  • Yahoo News: Xavier Becerra, HHS nominee, largely escapes Republican attacks

    • “I’m not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s ranking Republican member, said at the start of the hearing. Yet it was clear that both he and his fellow Republicans were reconciled to the fact that within a matter of days, Becerra would be the nation’s new health secretary.

  • E&E News: 5 things to watch at Deb Haaland’s confirmation hearing

    • “I do think this is a fight for Big Oil,” Kyle Herrig, founder and president of left-leaning government watchdog group Accountable.US, said in a press call yesterday. “But I will also say there’s a curious pattern of who the Republicans are opposing: Neera Tanden [at the Office of Management and Budget], Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas [of Homeland Security] and Haaland. … [I]t does seem to be that white males are having a lot easier time getting through the Senate than diverse nominees.”

  • Common Dreams: Deb Haaland Attacked by Fossil Fuel Industry

    • “The freakout by the oil and gas industry and their allies in Congress over Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior has begun in earnest. When Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn tweeted “Interior secretary nominee has joined pipeline protests and opposed fracking,” he certainly didn’t mean it as a compliment. Haaland’s historic nomination is already being opposed by Republican Senators Steve Daines and John Barrasso on similar grounds. 

    • “But these critiques should be worn as a badge of honor. If Haaland follows through on the actions these Senators are worried about, she will be the most effective Interior Secretary in recent memory.” 

  • ABC News: Biden nominees for HHS, Interior Dept. face contentious confirmation hearings

    • “Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said Haaland will have to convince him she’s willing to break from what he called her “radical views” as a lawmaker, including opposition to the oil industry and to the lifting of federal protections for grizzly bears…Some Native American advocates called the description of Haaland as “radical” a loaded reference to her tribal status. “That kind of language is sort of a dog whistle for certain folks that see somebody who is an Indigenous woman potentially being in a position of power,” said Ta’jin Perez with the group Western Native Voice. “Folks to some degree are afraid of change.” 

back to top