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Politics Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack

23:27  23 february  2021
23:27  23 february  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday voted against Tom Vilsack to lead the U . S . Department of Agriculture ( USDA ), making him the first senator who caucuses with the Democrats to vote against a Biden Cabinet nominee . Sanders fought against a bill Vilsack was behind in 2016, which required the labeling of genetically engineered food but was less strict than a similar state law in Vermont. Obama signed the measure in July 2016, effectively nullifying Vermont’s statute.

Agriculture nominee Vilsack says USDA will address long-standing inequities. During the debate, Sanders sought more broadly to portray Biden as inconsistent on issues important to Democratic voters , including same-sex marriage, bankruptcy protections and federal funding of abortion. Biden countered by highlighting Sanders ’s evolving record on gun control, noting that he had voted against the Brady Bill, which mandated federal background checks on firearm purchasers, and supported shielding gun manufacturers from liability when their products were used in mass shootings.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday voted against Tom Vilsack to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making him the first senator who caucuses with the Democrats to vote against a Biden Cabinet nominee.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) © Greg Nash Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders joined six Republicans in opposing Vilsack, who ran the agency for all eight years of the Obama administration.

"I like Tom and I've known him for years. I think we need somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture," Sanders told reporters after the vote. "I think he'll be fine, but not as strong as I would like."

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Vilsack , well-known in Washington and the agriculture industry after serving eight years in the post under President Barack Obama, was confirmed 92-7 Tuesday after less than 15 minutes of debate in the Senate. He was confirmed despite some criticism from progressive groups and minority farm Biden set a goal during the campaign for the U . S . to be the first country to cut its agriculture sector’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero. Robert Bonnie, a senior climate adviser to the Biden USDA , suggested during the transition rapid funding for a so-called carbon bank that would pay farmers

Otherwise, Sanders is on course to finish out the primary season — whenever it ends — hundreds of delegates and millions of popular votes behind Biden . Maybe that's an acceptable outcome for him. He would still collect many more delegates, thanks to those proportional allocation rules, and would The USDA "has been almost exclusively led by white men since the Civil War," Politico notes. Vilsack , who currently leads the U . S . Dairy Export Council trade group, is expected to easily win confirmation, and Biden 's plans to use the USDA as a tool against climate change "likely made the job more attractive

The Senate confirmed Vilsack in a 92-7 vote. Sanders joined GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) in voting against the nominee.

Progressives have pushed back on Vilsack's nomination because they felt he was too aligned with major agricultural corporations during his previous stint as USDA chief. More recently, Vilsack has been president of the dairy lobby group, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Vilsack's work as a lobbyist also raised concerns among progressives, many of whom wanted restrictions on former lobbyists working in the Biden White House. The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a major industry lobbying group and Vilsack previously worked as a registered lobbyist for the law firm Dorsey & Whitney.

Sanders fought against a bill Vilsack was behind in 2016, which required the labeling of genetically engineered food but was less strict than a similar state law in Vermont. Obama signed the measure in July 2016, effectively nullifying Vermont's statute.

Biden passed up Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) for the USDA post. Fudge was backed by a number of progressive groups and has been a key advocate for food banks and food insecurity programs.

Fudge is Biden's nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The state of the Bernie-Biden relationship remains strong .
The president and the Senate’s most recognizable progressive have made sure to work constructively together, even under stressful policy battles.And as the administration prepared a video of President Joe Biden backing an effort by Amazon workers to unionize in Alabama, the White House made sure members of Sanders’ team knew about it too.

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This is interesting!