Today is Sonny Perdue’s big day in the Senate

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Sonny Perdue, President Trump's nominee to lead the Agriculture Department, at his Senate confirmation hearing on March 23, 2017. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Senators will weigh in on whether to confirm Sonny Perdue as the 31st secretary of agriculture today, nearly 13 weeks after President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate the businessman and former Republican governor.

Fresh off their two week spring recess, senators are slated to debate his nomination on the Senate floor for less than three hours before putting the matter to a vote at 5:30 p.m.

Perdue is expected to easily win confirmation, and he could very well achieve bipartisan levels of support traditionally reserved for defense-related nominees. He’ll need 51 votes for confirmation.

 



 

Top Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which vetted Perdue last month, are supportive of him, and opposition has so far been token. A handful of environmental and food advocacy groups have come out against him, citing his record on climate change and fears that he’ll put the interests of business and agriculture ahead of safety and conservation.

Enthusiasm about Perdue in the agriculture and farming communities – especially in Georgia – has been pronounced. They see the former veterinarian as one of their own and a would-be ally for rural America in a White House filled with city dwellers.

Top Democratic leaders, including Chuck Schumer of New York, haven’t publicly weighed in on how they’ll vote. One of the only Democrats to come out against Perdue’s nomination so far is Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who said his record on food stamps is unsatisfactory.

If confirmed, Perdue will gain a powerful bully pulpit with which to aid Georgia’s farm interests.

Read more about what Perdue’s ascendancy could mean for Georgia here.

Check back to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Political Insider for updates on Perdue’s confirmation. You can also follow along live on C-SPAN. Debate will be on and off beginning at 3 p.m.

Read more about Sonny Perdue’s road to confirmation:

What Sonny Perdue’s Cabinet promotion could mean for Georgia

Ag panel vote moves Sonny Perdue one step away from Cabinet job

Confirmation hearing goes smoothly for Sonny Perdue to become ag chief

Georgians Tom Price, Sonny Perdue adjust to life at political pinnacle

Donald Trump taps Sonny Perdue as his agriculture chief


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