WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on Feb. 2 voted unanimously to recommend the full Senate confirm Tom Vilsack as President Joe Biden’s secretary of agriculture. Vilsack appeared before the panel today, and the committee’s favorable decision to forward his nomination was never in doubt.
Because the Senate had yet to formally organize its committees, Senator Deborah Stabenow of Michigan, who will be the next chairman of the committee, and John Boozman of Arkansas, who was expected to be the ranking member of the committee in the new Congress, co-chaired the session.
Following favorable opening comments by Stabenow and Boozman, which suggested a rapid confirmation of Vilsack lay ahead, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa formally introduced Vilsack, who previously was secretary of agriculture for all eight years of the administration of President Barack Obama and earlier was a two-term governor of the State of Iowa.
Vilsack already was well known to most members of the agriculture committee from his services as secretary of agriculture and as governor of Iowa.
The hearing was not contentious, and Vilsack in responding to committee members’ questions, and as expected, displayed a breadth in knowledge of the many issues facing farmers and ranchers as well as issues involved with federal food assistance and nutrition programs and forestry.