The political war underway on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, has caught the attention of one major agriculture interest group.
In recent days Democrats in the United States Senate have indicated they will filibuster attempts to approve Gorsuch.
In a letter to the full Senate Thursday, American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall said holding up Gorsuch has the potential to harm agriculture.
"The American Farm Bureau Federation supports swift confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court," the letter said.
"Supreme Court decisions affect farmers' and ranchers' ability to be productive. Important cases are expected to be coming up, and we need a full Supreme Court to provide for the full functioning of our third branch of government. Most important, we need a justice as qualified and dedicated as Judge Gorsuch.
"Previously the Senate confirmed Judge Gorsuch for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals without a single dissenting vote. Likewise today, there is no rational basis to oppose his confirmation. Tactics to block a vote on this nomination appear to be cynical tit-for-tat politics. The public deserves better.
"The many challenges facing the nation are too important to continue with a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. AFBF urges you to vote in favor of confirming Judge Gorsuch and to oppose unnecessary delays."
In addition, the full Senate soon is expected to vote on the confirmation of Sonny Perdue to head USDA, after the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Thursday approved the nomination Thursday morning.
In a statement to DTN, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said she was satisfied that Perdue would continue the new administration's efforts to turn back regulations.
"I applaud the committee's decision to favorably confirm Gov. Perdue and move forward with his confirmation process," she said.
"At his confirmation hearing, Gov. Perdue expressed commitment to working with other agencies to roll back onerous government regulations that hinder Iowa's agricultural industry. Getting government out of the way of our farmers is critical as we work to stabilize and grow the ag economy, particularly in our rural states, and I look forward to working with Gov. Perdue."
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member of Senate ag committee said in a statement she supports Perdue's nomination.
"After a thorough review of his qualifications and priorities, I support the nomination of Gov. Perdue to serve as agriculture secretary," she said.
"Although we have some differences on policy, we share a commitment to support American agriculture and strengthen our small towns and rural communities. I look forward to working with Gov. Perdue as we write the 2018 farm bill. Farmers and families in Michigan and all across rural America need a champion at USDA."
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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