Interior Department Veteran David Bernhardt to be Confirmed as Secretary
‘As I’ve discussed this week, David Bernhardt is no stranger to the Department. He’s served twice before. In fact, this body has confirmed him twice before. Each time, his professionalism and dedication proved us right. As Solicitor and as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bernhardt has offered capable leadership and a firm grasp on the complex policy environment surrounding our nation’s public lands. And his expertise has not gone unnoticed.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm more of the president’s well-qualified nominees including his nominee for Secretary of the Department of Interior, David Bernhardt:
“Today, the Senate will vote to confirm the president’s choice to serve as Secretary of the Interior. As I’ve discussed this week, David Bernhardt is no stranger to the Department. He’s served twice before. In fact, this body has confirmed him twice before. Each time, his professionalism and dedication proved us right. As Solicitor and as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bernhardt has offered capable leadership and a firm grasp on the complex policy environment surrounding our nation’s public lands. And his expertise has not gone unnoticed.
“Praise for Mr. Bernhardt’s nomination to head the Department has poured in from a growing list of more than forty stakeholder organizations; from agriculture, trade, conservation, and Native American organizations. They describe him as a leader whose ‘experience is sorely needed.’ They laud his commitment to ‘make the lands [the Department] manages accessible to the recreating public.’
“So we have before us an opportunity to confirm a well-qualified steward of our nation’s public lands and resources. Yesterday, a bipartisan majority of our colleagues voted to end debate on his nomination. And I hope each will join me in voting ‘yes’ once more later today. Of course, confirming Mr. Bernhardt will be just the latest in a series of many executive calendar accomplishments.
“Following on the heels of last week’s turn back toward the Senate’s historic tradition concerning nominations, we’ve been able to approve a number of the President’s nominees at a much more reasonable pace in the last several days. I’ve noted with particular interest that, for all the breathless warnings my Democratic colleagues issued about the kinds of people we’d be confirming, these unobjectionable nominees have actually mostly coasted through on a bipartisan basis.
“We saw support from both sides of the aisle for Roy Altman to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and for Daniel Domenico to the District of Colorado. We saw an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in favor of confirming General John Abizaid to serve as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a voice voted confirmation for Jeffrey Kessler to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce. These are not lightning-rod people whom my Democratic colleagues would have eagerly debated and investigated for an extra 30 hours. They are the kind of thoroughly qualified public servants who used to sail briskly through previous Senates without opposition.
“And now, even as my Democratic colleagues continue to require us to file cloture on individuals whom they go on to actually support, we’re able to fill out the President’s team at a more reasonable clip. There are still many more empty seats left to fill. But this week’s progress marks a great new beginning -- not just for an administration that needs its personnel, but for the health of this institution.”
Related Issues: Nominations