The Senate confirmed Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the ambassador to the United Nations and Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary Tuesday. Environmental and labor activists say they will pressure Vilsack to enact better policies than in his previous tenure at the USDA. Food & Water Watch said, “This administration needs to drastically shift course … by supporting sustainable, independent farming, halting the toxic expansion of polluting factory farms, and ultimately prioritizing consumer health and worker safety.”
Meanwhile, interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland faced harsh questioning from Republican senators Tuesday, who questioned her about her opposition to fracking, pipelines and fossil fuel development. This is Congressmember Haaland.
Rep. Deb Haaland: “There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to critical services. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”
If confirmed, Deb Haaland will be the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position.
In other Cabinet news, health and human services secretary nominee Xavier Becerra faced questions from Republicans over his support of reproductive rights. He responded to a question by Indiana Senator Mike Braun on whether he would use taxpayer money to fund abortion services.
Xavier Becerra: “While we probably will not agree on all the issues, I can say to you that we will definitely follow the law when it comes to the use of federal resources. And so, there, I can make that commitment that we will follow the law.”
Becerra was also questioned about his support over the Affordable Care Act. He’s the former attorney general of California.