The Senate Agriculture Committee scheduled a confirmation hearing for Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack. The committee will meet Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 10:30 a.m. ET, to consider the nomination. Committee leadership, Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow and Arkansas Republican John Boozman, made the announcement Wednesday.
Vilsack is expected to enjoy a smooth confirmation process. Vilsack previously served as Agriculture Secretary for all eight years of the Obama administration before heading up the U.S. Dairy Export Council. The Iowa native has broad support from agriculture in returning to the Department of Agriculture.
However, a coalition of progressive groups, including Food and Water Watch and Progressive Democrats of America, urged Senators to block the confirmation, claiming, “Tom Vilsack is in the pocket of “Big Ag.”
Last week, President Joe Biden assigned Kevin Shea as the acting Agriculture Secretary until Vilsack is confirmed by the Senate. Shea has been the administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service since 2013.
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)