Haaland, who was nominated for the job by President Biden, would become the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet-level position if confirmed for the position.
Collins decided to back Haaland’s nomination after reviewing her qualifications, considering the nominee’s responses at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing and meeting with the nominee, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The endorsement made Collins the first Republican to express support for Haaland, the Huffington Post reported.
“While we certainly have different views on some issues, her role in helping to shepherd the Great American Outdoors Act through the House will be beneficial to the Department’s implementation of this landmark conservation law, which I co-sponsored,” Collins said in a statement, according to The Hill. “I also appreciate Representative Haaland’s willingness to support issues important to the State of Maine, such as Acadia National Park, as well as her deep knowledge of tribal issues.”
Haaland’s nomination previously received a boost last week when Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he would support her for the Interior job.
“I believe Deb Haaland will be a secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her,″ Manchin said in a statement. “While we do not agree on every issue, she reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence.″
Manchin, along with U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, are seen as key votes in the Senate on many issues with the Senate divided nearly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. The GOP holds a slight 50-48 edge, but two independents caucus with Democrats and the Democrats hold a potential tie-breaking vote in Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as Senate president.
Both Manchin and Collins previously said they would reject the nomination of Biden pick Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Sensing a failed nomination, Biden withdrew Tanden’s name from consideration this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.