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Deb Haaland. Photo: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 51-40 on Monday to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) as President Biden's secretary of the Interior Department.

Why it matters: Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, is the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.

  • Haaland in 2018 became one of the first two Native American women to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, alongside Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas).
  • The Interior Department oversees the federal government's relationship with 567 federally recognized tribes and 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The big picture: Haaland will play an important role in Biden's energy and climate agenda as her agency manages and sustains the country's public lands, including national parks, oil and gas drilling sites, and wildlife.

  • She told senators during her confirmation hearing that while "fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come," she supports Biden's focus on moving toward a clean energy future.

Haaland's opposition to fracking and drilling on federal lands has been criticized by Republicans who argue that ending the practices could cost thousands of jobs.

  • She responded to those concerns in her confirmation hearing, testifying that "America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production" and that a clean energy transition "has the potential to spur job creation."

The intrigue: Haaland's nomination was strongly supported by Native Americans across the country. From the Navajo Nation to the Oglala Lakota, tribal members watched Haaland's confirmation hearings and posted messages of support on social media.

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.