Haaland defends Interior rulemaking, spending plan

By Michael Doyle | 04/17/2024 01:28 PM EDT

The Interior secretary made her first appearance of the fiscal 2025 spending cycle Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland testifying before House appropriators Wednesday. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Wednesday faced some curveballs as she went to bat on Capitol Hill for the Biden administration’s $17.8 billion fiscal 2025 Interior budget request.

Appearing for 90 minutes before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, Haaland confronted questions both about familiar policy disputes as well as new ones about a minor league baseball team. She also found some common ground in certain areas, most notably on tribal issues.

“This administration has made a steadfast commitment to honor our nation’s tribal trust responsibilities and strengthen government-to-government relationships with tribal nations,” Haaland said, adding that “this budget maintains that commitment to support and expand this work.”


Interior requested a total of $4.6 billion for Indian Affairs programs. While subcommittee members did not dig into the specific numbers during the morning hearing, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) becoming Appropriations chair gives Haaland a potential key ally. She is the first Native American to serve as Interior secretary, and he’s a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.