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Manchin backs Haaland for the Home Secretary post, a key vote that indicates she could be confirmed along party lines.

Senator Joe Manchin III, the Democrat from West Virginia who heads the Senate Energy Committee, announced Wednesday that he would vote to confirm Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico as head of the Department of the Interior.

Mr Manchin’s vote could be crucial for Ms Haaland’s confirmation, as Republicans stepped up attacks on the former environmental activist this week, signaling that the vote to confirm her could go back to party lines.

If confirmed, Ms Haaland would go down in history as the first Native American to head an agency within the firm. She would also play a central role in advancing President Biden’s climate change agenda, as the head of an agency that oversees more than 500 million acres of public land, including national parks, sites of oil and gas drilling and habitat for endangered species. And she would be accused of enacting one of Mr. Biden’s most controversial proposals: a ban on future leases to perform hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas on public lands.

But his appointment has come under fire as Republicans have expressed concerns over his history of pushing the shutdown of fossil fuel drilling and pipelines – positions that go beyond those of Mr Biden.

The Republican National Committee sent an email on Tuesday urging senators to vote against Ms Haaland, writing: “In appointing Haaland, Biden is embracing far-left special interest groups who don’t care about the jobs they destroy, do not know the real impacts. their policies, and have no answer on when they can get Americans back to work. “

If Republicans unite against Ms Haaland, she will need the support of all Democrats in the equally divided Senate, which would allow Vice President Kamala Harris to vote in a split between parties. So far, the vote of Mr Manchin, who heads the Senate energy panel but has often voted with Republicans on energy policy issues, has remained uncertain. Mr Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia relies heavily on coal mining, has expressed concern over Mr Biden’s plans to limit exploration for fossil fuels.

Mr Manchin’s announcement of his intention to vote for Ms Haaland also underlines the crucial role he will play in the success or failure of the president’s legislative agenda. (He has previously said he would vote against another of Mr Biden’s candidates, Neera Tanden, who has been appointed to head the Bureau of Management and Budget, casting doubt on his prospects for confirmation.)

In a statement, Mr Manchin said: “Given the political divisions our country currently faces, I believe that every presidential candidate and every member of Congress must embark on a new era of bipartisanship. It is the standard that the overwhelming majority of Americans expect and deserve. “

Regarding Ms. Haaland, he added, “although we do not agree on all issues, she reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, responding to the diverse needs of our country and maintaining the energy independence of our nation.

Appearing before the Senate Energy Committee on Wednesday for her second day of confirmation hearings, Ms Haaland faced stiff criticism from Republicans in the oil state, who made it clear they would not support her not.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Energy Panel’s ranking Republican, highlighted remarks Ms. Haaland made in 2018 as she campaigned to phase out oil and gas production in New Mexico, and a proposed to legalize and tax cannabis as a way to compensate for lost state revenue.

“Is the sale of marijuana part of what the Biden administration calls the ‘best choices’ the Biden administration has promised to give to displaced oil and gas workers?” Asked Mr. Barrasso. He added: “Your preference is to turn to drugs – this is what you recommended to voters – at a time when we know unemployment is high and energy workers are losing their jobs.”

Ms Haaland responded that the proposal was to signal that she wanted to “diversify the sources of income for education,” and added, “I don’t know what President Biden’s position is on marijuana.”

Ms. Haaland has repeatedly told senators that, in her role as head of a federal agency, she would carry out the president’s agenda, rather than asserting her personal views.

“If I am confirmed as secretary, it is a very different role than that of an MP representing a small district in my state,” she said. “So I understand that role: it’s to serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico.

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Health secretary candidate Becerra vows to ‘find a common cause’ as Republicans seek to paint him as extreme.

President Biden’s candidate for health secretary Xavier Becerra pledged Tuesday morning to work to “restore confidence in public health institutions” and “seek to find a common cause” with his critics, as Republicans sought to portray him as an unqualified liberal extremist. For the job.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions, Mr. Becerra, the Attorney General of California, was toasted by Republicans who complained that they had no experience in the profession of health and targeted its support for the Affordable Care Act. and for abortion rights.

“Basically, you spoke out against pro-life,” Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun told Becerra. He asked if Mr Becerra would pledge not to use taxpayer money for abortions, which is currently prohibited by federal law, except in cases where the mother’s life is at stake, or in the ‘incest or rape.

“I will commit to obeying the law,” replied Becerra, leaving himself some leeway should the law change.

Tuesday’s appearance was the first of two Senate confirmation hearings for Mr. Becerra; he is due to appear before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. Despite the tough questions, Mr Becerra appears to be heading for confirmation in a Senate equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, but with Vice President Kamala Harris on hand to break the tie.

If confirmed, Mr Becerra will immediately face the daunting task of leading the department at a critical time, during a pandemic that has claimed half a million lives and has taken particularly devastating havoc on people from color. He would be the first Latino to serve as secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Although Mr. Becerra, a former congressman, did not have direct experience as a medical professional, he took a keen interest in health policy in Washington and helped draft the Law on Health Care. affordable care. He has most recently been at the forefront of legal efforts to defend it, leading 20 states and the District of Columbia in a campaign to protect the law from dismantling Republicans.

Republicans and their allies in the conservative and anti-abortion movements have taken hold of the ACA’s defense of Becerra as well as his support for abortion rights.

The Conservative Action Project, an advocacy group, on Monday released a statement signed by dozens of Conservative leaders, including several former members of Congress, complaining that Mr Becerra had a “troubling record” on ” policies relating to the sanctity of life, human dignity and religious freedom. “

They specifically cited his vote against banning “late abortion” and accused him of using his role as attorney general “to tip the scales in favor of Planned Parenthood,” a group that advocates the law. to abortion. Asked by Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney about the late abortion vote, Becerra noted his wife is an obstetrician-gynecologist and said he would “work to find common ground ” On the question. Mr. Romney was not impressed. “It looks like we’re not going to find common ground there,” he replied.

Democrats point to Mr Becerra’s experience as the head of one of the country’s largest justice departments through a particularly trying time, and his up-from-the-bootstraps biography. The son of Mexican immigrants, he studied at Stanford University both undergraduate and in law. He served 12 terms in Congress, representing Los Angeles, before becoming attorney general of his home state in 2017.

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Video: Education secretary candidate calls for investment in pandemic recovery

new video loaded: Education secretary candidate calls for investment in pandemic recovery



Education secretary candidate calls for investment in pandemic recovery

During his confirmation hearing, Miguel A. Cardona, President Biden’s candidate for education secretary, said additional funding would be crucial to help schools across the country recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Our country’s educational challenges did not start with the pandemic, but they have exacerbated the inequalities in our education system. These inequalities will persist and prevent this country’s potential to tackle head-on. And so it is – it is, and so it is our responsibility, and it would be my greatest privilege, if confirmed, to create opportunities to emerge from this crisis. Investing in public education changes lives. And it saves lives. I saw it and I lived it. And I know that our challenges ahead are problems that we can overcome together. As a saying goes in Spanish, “en la unión está la fuerza”. In unity there is strength. We gain strength by uniting. And like our schools, we gain strength when we create a culture of community. And we are in the midst of a pandemic and our learners – social and emotional development – the needs of counselors are greater. Many of our students have lost loved ones, suffered trauma due to the loss of their jobs by their families. There have been so many changes. We are going to need more counselors in our schools. We’re going to have to make sure we have summer programs. We’re going to have to make sure we have an extended day. If we really want to recover, we really have to invest now or we’ll pay later. And I think the funds we’re talking about right now are really meant to help us in a long-term recovery process, avoiding layoffs, when we need more teachers, not less.

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Video: Mayorkas sworn in as Secretary of Homeland Security

“Raise your right hand. I, Alejandro Mayorkas,” I, Alejandro Mayorkas “,” I solemnly swear “,” I solemnly swear “,” that I will support and defend “,” that I will support and defend “,” the Constitution of United States “,” The Constitution of the United States “,” against all enemies “,” against all enemies “,” foreigners and nationals “,” foreigners and nationals “,” that I will bear true faith and allegiance ” , “That I will bear true faith and allegiance”, “to the same”, “to the same”, “that I take this obligation freely”, “that I take this obligation freely”, “without any mental reservation”, ” without any mental reserve “,” Or the purpose of fraud “,” or the purpose of fraud “,” and that I will perform well and faithfully “” and that I will perform well and faithfully “” the duties of office “” functions that I’m about to step into. “That I’m about to step into.” “So help me God.” “Then help me God.” Congratulations, Secretary. Thank you. Congratulations to the whole family. Thank you. Congratulations.


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Pete Buttigieg confirmed as Biden’s transportation secretary

“This confirmation breaks a barrier that has existed for too long; where LGBTQ identity has been a barrier to appointment or confirmation at the highest level of government, ”said Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, a group dedicated to advancing the interests of the LGBTQ community, in a statement. “May this important moment for our movement serve as a reminder to every young LGBTQ: you too can serve your country in any capacity that you have obtained the necessary qualifications.

Although Mr. Buttigieg received a warm welcome on Capitol Hill and among transportation experts, critics have followed him to power, especially on racing. During his run for president, Mr Buttigieg was denounced for his dismissal from a black police chief early in his tenure as mayor and his failure to diversify the predominantly white South Bend police force.

Critics also pointed to Mr Buttigieg’s relatively slim track record on transport overhauls, the disparities in South Bend’s distribution of outsourcing dollars between minority and women-owned businesses, and the limited number of minority appointments Mr Buttigieg made to his senior political staff in the south. Bend.

During his hearing, he stepped into politically charged territory by not immediately ruling out an increase in the national gasoline tax to top up the falling pot of money for road improvements, saying “all options must be on the table ”. After the hearing, a spokesperson said Mr Buttigieg opposed the tax increase.

To help Mr Buttigieg, Mr Biden appointed Polly Trottenberg, who oversaw the New York Department of Transportation for seven years, as his deputy. The administration also appointed 40 senior officials within the department, including in critical positions overseeing airways, highways and railways.

During Mr. Buttigieg’s time as mayor, his main transportation achievement was a $ 25 million project, called Smart Streets, which converted South Bend’s one-way roads to two-way streets with tracks. cycle paths and sidewalks to encourage pedestrian traffic and downtown commercial activity.

Now, transport experts say, the test will be how Mr. Buttigieg delivers on his promises to make the ministry more climate-friendly and more racial, simply with his limited authority over how the money can be spent.

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Video: Harris swears to Blinken as Secretary of State

new video loaded: Harris swears to Blinken as secretary of state



Harris swears to Blinken as Secretary of State

Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in to Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday, his first full day as head of the State Department.

“Me, Antony Blinken.” “Me, Antony Blinken.” “Solemnly swear.” “Solemnly swear.” “That I will support and defend.” “That I will support and defend.” “The Constitution of the United States.” “The Constitution of the United States.” “Against all enemies, foreigners and nationals.” “Against all enemies, foreigners and nationals.” “That I will carry true faith and allegiance to the same.” “That I will carry true faith and allegiance to the same.” “That I take this obligation freely.” “That I take this obligation freely.” “Without any mental reserve or purpose of escape.” “Without any mental reserve or purpose of escape.” “That I will discharge well and faithfully.” “That I will discharge well and faithfully.” “The functions of the office I’m about to enter. “The functions of the office I’m about to enter. “So help me God.” “So help me God.” “Congratulations, Mr. Secretary.” “Thank you, Madam Vice-President.” “Congratulations.”

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Video: Blinken is confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of State

TimesVideoBlinken Confirmed by Senate as Secretary of State On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Antony J. Blinken as the country’s 71st Secretary of State.

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Video: Yellen is sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury

TimesVideoYellen Sworn In As Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen made history Tuesday, having been sworn in as the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary, according to Reuters.

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Janet Yellen, the first woman to be Secretary of the Treasury, is sworn in by the first woman to be Vice President.

Janet L. Yellen was sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury Tuesday by Vice President Kamala Harris, a historic moment as the two women are the first to assume two of the most powerful positions in the US government.

Ms. Yellen is the country’s 78th Secretary of the Treasury and the first woman to assume this role in the institution’s 232-year history. She is also the first woman to hold the three main economic posts in government, having served as chair of the Federal Reserve and the Council of Economic Advisers.

She is taking office at a time of economic crisis, with millions still out of work and the recovery is slowing as the virus persists. Ms Yellen will quickly be pushed into tense negotiations over how to design and adopt a strong stimulus package to help revive an economy that has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Standing outside the White House, Ms Yellen was sworn in with her husband, economist George Akerlof, and her son by her side. At the end of the ceremony, Ms Harris said: “Congratulations, Madam Secretary”. To which Ms Yellen replied: “Thank you, Madam Vice-President.”

As a sign of the task at hand, the Treasury Department has quickly added staff and advisers in recent days. Ms Yellen was confirmed by a bipartisan vote on Monday, but her senior deputy Wally Adeyemo and other senior officials who will oversee the department’s international affairs, sanctions and national finance divisions are not yet in place and will require confirmation. of the Senate.

The White House and congressional lawmakers have started the busy process of negotiating the $ 1.9 trillion relief bill proposed by President Biden. Ms Yellen, labor economist and former Federal Reserve chairwoman, will now take a central role in explaining why the economy needs more tax support.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Ms. Yellen told senators it was time to “act big” and that it would be financially responsible in the long run by creating a healthier economy.

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Biden’s choice for Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has a confirmation hearing.

The Commerce Department has broad authority over issues as broad as technology exports and climate change. President Biden’s candidate for head of the agency, Gina M. Raimondo, will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee for a confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Ms. Raimondo, the current governor of Rhode Island, is a moderate Democrat and former venture capitalist.

Here are some things to watch out for as the hearing begins at 10 a.m.

Senators from both sides are likely to question Ms Raimondo on how she plans to use Commerce Department powers to counter China’s growing mastery of cutting-edge and sensitive technologies, like advanced telecommunications and artificial intelligence.

The Trump administration has made extensive use of departmental officials to crack down on Chinese tech companies, often turning to the so-called entity list, which allows the United States to block companies from selling American products and technologies. to certain foreign companies without first obtaining a License. Dozens of companies have been added to the Commerce Department’s list, including telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE.

The Commerce Department was also tasked with describing President Donald J. Trump’s U.S. ban on Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat – actions that were later halted by a court ruling. Mr Biden said he viewed TikTok’s access to US data a “matter of real concern,” but it is unclear how the new administration will handle these issues.

But the Commerce Department has other capabilities that some tech experts say were underutilized in the Trump administration, such as the role it plays in setting global technology standards that private companies must operate on.

As Commerce Secretary, Ms. Raimondo would wield powers that could help struggling businesses and advance the Biden administration’s goals of developing a domestic industry and revitalizing U.S. research and development. This includes the economic development programs and manufacturing partnerships that the Commerce Department offers to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as its primary mission of promoting U.S. exports.

Like some of Mr Biden’s other candidates, Ms Raimondo has faced a bit of backlash from progressive Democrats, who have criticized her close ties to venture capital and big tech companies. Prior to running for political office, Ms Raimondo was a founding employee of investment firm Village Ventures, which was backed by Bain Capital, and co-founded her own venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital.

Some progressives have also condemned some actions she has taken as governor of Rhode Island, including clashes with unions over an overhaul of state pension plans and the extension of some liability protections. nursing homes and health care facilities during the pandemic. But Democrats, who will back Ms Raimondo’s prompt confirmation, are unlikely to put too much emphasis on these issues, if at all.

Ms Raimondo’s financial disclosure forms, released this month, also appear uncontroversial, showing an annual salary of Rhode Island state $ 150,245 and $ 2.9 million to $ 7.5 million in cash, investment accounts and other assets, mainly mutual funds.