Senators expected to advance Sonny Perdue nomination tomorrow

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Agriculture Secretary-designate, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017, to testify at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — Former Gov. Sonny Perdue is expected to move one step closer to becoming the 31st secretary of agriculture on Wednesday.

That’s when the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to vote on whether to advance the Republican’s nomination to the Senate floor.

The meeting is a key moment for Perdue more than two months after President Donald Trump first tapped him for the Cabinet-level post. If his friendly confirmation hearing last week is any indication, Perdue will likely notch bipartisan, if not unanimous, support.

It’s unclear whether the full Senate will then move to confirm Perdue before it leaves for its two-week April recess at the end of next week. The collapse of the House GOP’s health care bill certainly opens up some floor time, but there are plenty of other things that could eat up the Senate’s schedule, including Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and regulation-killing bills that have already passed the House.

If senators don’t get to Perdue before they leave, he won’t be able to get sworn in until the last week of April at the earliest. Said Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., of approving Perdue before the Easter break: “Hope springs eternal.”

Read more: Confirmation hearing goes smoothly for Sonny Perdue to become ag chief


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