A Solid Majority Likely in Senate for Perdue, Says Grassley
Sonny Perdue can expect a broad and bipartisan vote in the Senate next week to become agriculture secretary, though it won’t be unanimous, said Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), an Agriculture Committee member. Perdue, a former two-term governor of Georgia, is arguably the least controversial of President Trump’s cabinet nominees, and Grassley told reporters that he expects “not more than 40 votes against him.”
The confirmation vote on Perdue is scheduled for Monday as the first roll call when the 52 Republican and 48 Democratic senators return from a two-week vacation. He would have a historically late start to his term — 13 weeks after Trump took office; almost all agriculture secretaries have taken office on inauguration day or soon after. “He’s probably on the job already,” studying issues he will face at the USDA, said Grassley.
When asked if Perdue would clash with the White House over proposed cuts in USDA programs and the administration’s drive to reduce the federal workforce, Grassley said that Perdue should be given time to settle into the office and assess USDA operations. “If there are going to be county offices closed, I think that gets to be politically difficult,” said Grassley.
The so-called “skinny budget” released in mid-March by the White House said it would reduce staffing at the USDA Service Center agencies “to streamline county office operations, reflect reduced rural development workload, and encourage private-sector conservation planning.”