Trump refers to Lipps in discussion of nominees
In his comments Wednesday on Senate Democrats’ holding up confirmation of nominees, President Donald Trump appeared to refer to Brandon Lipps, the nominee for Agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.
At the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Trump said that he needs his nominees confirmed in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and that he may force Congress into a recess so that he can make recess appointments.
Trump said, “There are currently 129 nominees stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction. … The positions include the director of national intelligence, two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the assistant secretary of Treasury for Financial Markets of the United States, and the undersecretary of Agriculture responsible for administering food security programs.”
There is no position with that title, but Trump said that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has told him, “‘Please, can I have this man, can I have this particular person approved as soon as possible?’ He’s been telling me that for a long time, and the Democrats won’t allow it to happen.”
Lipps serves as Agriculture deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. He has not been waiting that long for confirmation as undersecretary. Trump did not nominate anyone for that position for the first three years of his presidency. He announced his intent to nominate Lipps in December and forwarded his nomination to the Senate on Jan. 6.
Scott Hutchins, the nominee for Agriculture undersecretary for research education and economics, has been waiting for confirmation since 2018. He serves as deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, which does not require Senate confirmation.
On March 23, the Senate confirmed Mindy Brashears as the undersecretary for food safety. She previously served as deputy undersecretary since January 2019. Trump nominated Hutchins and Brashears in the 115th Congress, and the Senate Agriculture Committee forwarded their nominations to the full Senate but they were not confirmed. Trump renominated them in the 116th Congress.