Vilsack to make pledges in Senate Ag confirmation hearing
Tom Vilsack, President Biden’s nominee as Agriculture secretary, will make a series of pledges when he appears before the Senate Agriculture Committee for a confirmation hearing this morning, Feb. 2.
The Hagstrom Report obtained a copy of Vilsack’s opening statement.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the incoming chairwoman, and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the incoming ranking member, announced Monday they plan to hold a committee vote on forwarding the Vilsack nomination to the Senate floor in a meeting amid votes later today.
Vilsack, who was the Agriculture secretary in the Obama administration, says in the opening statement that he will pledge to:
▪ Address discrimination in all its forms across USDA agencies, offices and programs.
▪ Ensure USDA is doing its part to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
▪ Remove barriers to access for anyone who qualifies for federal nutrition assistance.
▪ Lead the federal government in “building and maintaining new markets in America that diversify rural economies; producing healthy, local and regional foods; investing in renewable energy; creating a thriving biobased manufacturing sector; embracing sustainable and regenerative practices that enhance soil health; and delivering science-based solutions to help mitigate and reduce climate change.”
▪ Stop the farm debt cycle and create transparency in pricing throughout the supply chain; expand overseas markets and give U.S. agriculture a level playing field; and “harness USDA’s expertise in science and conservation to work with farmers, ranchers and forest owners to create new sources of income tied to their good climate practices.”
▪ Restore USDA employee morale “to the high level it was” when he was secretary in the Obama administration.
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The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday passed five bills including the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021.