Legislative Activity

Sonny Perdue Awaits Full Senate Vote

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee easily approved Sonny Perdue’s nomination for the position of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary. The committee favorably reported his nomination by voice vote; however, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the lone vote of opposition. Gillibrand stood behind her vote, outlining her disapproval of Perdue’s management of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the state of Georgia while serving as governor. SNAP is a federal-aid program jointly administered by USDA and the states. She further noted the importance of SNAP to families in her home state of New York.

Perdue’s final hurdle before being sworn in as USDA Secretary is a vote by the full Senate. The timing for a confirmation vote is still unclear. The Senate is faced with several upcoming items in April, including the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, a scheduled two-week recess, and a spending package to prevent a government shutdown before the current continuing resolution expires on April 28. If Senate party leaders are not able to reach an agreement to expedite Perdue’s confirmation vote, it could be pushed into May. As Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue would oversee nearly 110,000 USDA employees covering a wide range of issues pertaining to food and agriculture.

This Week’s Committee Activities:

  • On Tuesday, April 4, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management has scheduled a hearing titled “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part II.”
  • On Tuesday, April 4, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit has scheduled a hearing titled “The Next Farm Bill: Credit Programs.”
  • On Wednesday, April 5, the House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Agriculture and Tax Reform: Opportunities for Rural America.”