The Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday voted to favorably report to the full Senate President Donald Trump’s nominations of Stephen Censky, the CEO of the American Soybean Association, to be Agriculture deputy secretary and Ted McKinney, the Indiana agriculture director, to be undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
The vote, which was unanimous by voice, took place in the President’s Room off the Senate floor.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he would go immediately to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to ask to take up the nominations quickly.
Asked if the nominations might be considered by unanimous consent, Roberts said,“Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
“With today’s vote, the Senate Agriculture Committee continues to do our part to vet and swiftly advance USDA nominees,” Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a joint statement. “We will continue to work together to get Secretary Perdue a qualified, functioning team at USDA. Our farmers and ranchers are counting on us.”
Asked by reporters for her views on Sam Clovis, the nominee to be Agriculture undersecretary for research, education and economics, Stabenow repeated her previous statements that she thinks Clovis, who is not a hard scientist and has made controversial statements on social issues, “doesn’t meet the criteria” for the job.
Stabenow quickly noted that the unanimous vote today signaled that Trump is presenting the Senate with qualified nominees for other positions.
Stabenow said she has not yet met with Clovis.
Roberts told reporters last week that the committee still needs more paper work from the White House to consider the Clovis nomination.
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