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Interior's staffing standoff

Oct 31, 2023

Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Laura Daniel-Davis will serve as acting deputy Interior secretary after the departure of Tommy Beaudreau, the agency said today.

Why it matters: It could further inflame Interior's relationship with the Hill.

Flashback: Daniel-Davis was nominated to be assistant secretary for land and minerals management but faced intense opposition from Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin.

  • She's been effectively performing that duty at the agency — without the Senate confirming her — since 2021.
  • "There are few people who have been by my side more over the past two and a half years than Laura, and I am so grateful that she has agreed to step into this role as we work together to implement President Biden's ambitious and historic agenda," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

What they're saying: "This is a mistake. She's already been rejected by the United States Senate," Sen. John Barrasso told reporters.

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who worked closely with the administration to get the Willow Project approved, said it is "bypassing" the confirmation process with Daniel-Davis.
  • "She encountered quite the headwinds before, and I would imagine the administration is observant enough that they realize she would run into the same problems," she said. "Instead they put her in an acting position."
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