U.S. Senate vote to confirm Zinke as Interior secretary likely n - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

U.S. Senate vote to confirm Zinke as Interior secretary likely not until March

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U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont. U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

The U.S. Senate vote on whether to confirm Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke as U.S. Interior secretary probably won’t occur until the end of this month or next month, MTN News has learned.

Zinke’s confirmation vote is now in the queue behind at least two other cabinet nominees, Senate Republican leadership has said.

However, they’ve also said Senate Democrats may force up to 30 hours of debate on those other nominees, pushing Zinke’s confirmation vote past this week.

The U.S. Senate goes on a week-long break starting this weekend, so a vote on Zinke’s nomination likely won’t occur until the Senate returns, the week of Feb. 27.

Two cabinet nominees whose confirmation votes are in front of Zinke are Mick Mulvaney for budget director and Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would nominate Zinke as U.S. Interior secretary. The Interior Department oversees the U.S. bureaus of Land Management, Reclamation and Indian Affairs, the National Park Service and millions of acres of public land.

Zinke was elected last year to a second term as Montana’s only U.S. House representative.

Once he is confirmed as Interior secretary, he would resign his House seat, and Montana would hold a special election to choose his successor.

If his confirmation is pushed into March, the special election probably won’t occur until early June.

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