The U.S. Senate voted 92 to seven on Tuesday to approve Tom Vilsack’s nomination for agriculture secretary. This will be Vilsack’s second stint in the role; he also served as USDA chief during the Obama administration.
USDA’s priorities under Vilsack will include establishing a “new era for equity and fairness” as well as helping end the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing climate change, the department’s new chief of staff, Katharine Ferguson, said.
“The United States is on the precipice of transforming our food system, and that transformation will be led by our farmers, our ranchers, producers, and all of us living and working in rural America,” she said.
Biden’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, Katharine Tai, will get her confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.
Tai, who advised the House Ways and Means Committee during the last Congress, “is eminently qualified and deeply familiar with the mission” of USTR “in opening foreign markets and reducing barriers for U.S. food and agriculture workers and exporters for the benefit of consumers in the U.S. and across the globe,” said a letter signed by more than 100 groups.