Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico has been tapped to lead the Interior Department. Photo: BONNIE CASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will name Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) as Interior secretary, according to a source with direct knowledge of the decision, a history-making move that also will test Biden's resolve on energy policy.

Why it matters: Haaland, 60, would be the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, leading the department that oversees the federal government's relationship with 567 federally recognized tribes and 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

  • It's a political victory for progressives, who have spent weeks lobbying for Haaland. But it could give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an even narrower House majority in the near-term.
  • Haaland was one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress, in the 2018 midterms.
  • The Washington Post was the first to report on Biden's decision.

Driving the news: Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that Biden "will have made an excellent choice” if he picks Haaland for Interior.

  • Two sources familiar told Axios that Pelosi was the last "hurdle" to clear to get Haaland the green light.
  • Tribal leaders and progressive activists spent most of Wednesday engaging with Pelosi's team and arguing this could be done "in a way that protects your majority and protects your speakership," one source involved in the discussions told Axios.
  • Haaland represents a district that Democrats control by wide margins, and she can remain in her seat until confirmation. Her seat could be filled faster than seats held by Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who've already been tapped to serve in the incoming administration.

What we're hearing: One person familiar with the discussions said progressive groups and tribal leaders had been talking with Pelosi's team about "how to stagger appointments and talk to governors to make sure we do this in a way that doesn't create disorder."

  • Making something historic happen was among the strongest arguments to winning over Pelosi, another source said.

What to watch: Haaland's allies believe she'd have no problem getting confirmed, pointing to Republican colleagues like Reps. Tom Cole and Don Young who've been publicly supportive of her landing this role.

The big picture: The Interior Department, which oversees vast swaths of public lands and waters, will play an important role implementing Biden's energy plans, Axios' Ben Geman notes.

  • Biden's platform calls for banning new oil and natural gas drilling permits on federal lands, but it's not clear how that will work in practice.
  • It also envisions greater use of those areas for renewable power development, including offshore wind.
  • Haaland will face some tricky challenges. One is Biden's vow to block drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Trump's Interior is planning to sell drilling rights in its closing days. But there are several levers the Biden administration can pull to slow or thwart the years-long development process.

What they're saying: "A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior," Haaland said in a tweet. "Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve."

  • "I'm over the moon right now," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in response to the news of Haaland's nomination. "I think the Biden climate appointments, they represent progress..."
  • "Congresswoman Haaland would not just represent the first Native woman in charge of federal lands, but she brings a philosophy of both a commitment on climate and justice and the historic weight of having a Native woman, no less a progressive one, in charge of federal lands, is pretty enormous."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What business wants from Biden

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Top corporate leaders tell me President-elect Biden's Cabinet and West Wing picks appear to be animated more by competence than by ideology, making business optimistic about working with the new administration.

Why it matters: Biden will probably ultimately raise the taxes of these CEOs and other executives. But after the Trump years, what CEOs really want is a government that functions and that they can deal with comfortably.

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

30 mins ago - Technology

Tech companies worry about becoming targets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech employees are on high alert about their own personal safety as their employers roll out policies to ban or limit the reach of far-right extremists angry over former President Donald Trump's defeat.

Why it matters: As tech companies impose aggressive policies after the Capitol riot, employees will be the target of vitriol from aggrieved people who think tech and the media are conspiring to silence Trump and conservatives more broadly.