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GOP-led Senate to vote on ousting Walz cabinet picks

On Wednesday lawmakers will vote on whether to keep Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho and DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Senators are back at the state capitol Wednesday, and are preparing to vote on whether two Walz cabinet appointees will keep their jobs. 

Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho and DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen are the two with their jobs on the line. 

Reportedly, Republicans are upset with Commissioner Ho because they don't think she's gotten rental assistance out soon enough. 

This vote comes one day after Commissioner Laura Bishop of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency resigned ahead of a Wednesday confirmation vote.

She was told it was "highly likely" she'd be fired by the Senate when her confirmation vote came up. 

RELATED: Minnesota GOP senators signal they may fire some Walz Cabinet members

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka released a video naming a number of reasons Republicans weren't happy with Bishop, including her agency's clean cars emission rules, and it joining a lawsuit to tighten mercury standards in taconite mining.

"Number one she joined a lawsuit with the state of Michigan to sue the taconite industry, which frankly could dramatically hurt the taconite industry up North," Gazelka said. "I don't think the steelworkers up there thought that was a good idea."

Also at issue with members of the GOP caucus was Bishop's support for electric car mandates that in their view forced Minnesotans to buy more electric cars. 

"These weren't through the legislative process, this was her jamming them through, through rulemaking or other means," Gazelka said.

Governor Tim Walz said Bishop's departure is a "loss" for Minnesotans who believe in science and climate change. 

“I am extremely disappointed in the Republicans in the Senate who are choosing to use taxpayer dollars to play partisan games and try to politicize an agency charged with protecting Minnesotans from pollution because they refuse to acknowledge the science of climate change," he wrote in a press release Tuesday. 

Walz's office said that MPCA Deputy Commissioner Peter Tester will serve as Temporary Commissioner of the agency.

This is all part of the Senate's authority to confirm or reject the governor's appointments. Last week the Senate extended the special session so they could hold these hearings. 

Senate Republicans did the same last summer, and fired two of the governor's commissioners then.     

RELATED: MPCA commissioner resigns as Minnesota Senate considers firing Walz cabinet members

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