Udall Votes Against Bernhardt For Interior Secretary
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, voted against confirming David Bernhardt to serve as Secretary of the Interior. The full Senate confirmed Bernhardt by a vote of 56-41.
Udall spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to Bernhardt’s nomination. “After considering the whole of Mr. Bernhardt’s record — especially the open questions about his actions that have benefitted his former clients — I cannot vote to confirm this nominee,” Udall said. “His policies are too slanted toward private interests. And, as a former lobbyist for many of these interests, his conflicts are too many.”
“The American public deserves an Interior Secretary who they can trust to look out for their interests – protecting public land, species, the air and the water. But Mr. Bernhardt has not demonstrated he has the necessary independence from his former clients,” Udall said. “He’s shut out scientists, Native Americans, conservationists, and the American people. He’s tangled in conflicts. The Senate should stop the rush to confirm Deputy Secretary Bernhardt while these fundamental ethics and conflicts of interest questions are under review.”
Now that Bernhardt has been confirmed by the full Senate, Udall added the following statement: “As the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment, I will endeavor to work with Secretary Bernhardt where we can find common ground and for the benefit of New Mexico and the country. I believe he would be wise to heed the very legitimate concerns raised about his nomination, take further concrete actions to fully avoid conflicts of interest, and make the public interest paramount in his decision-making as a steward of America’s public lands and waters from this day forward.”