The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to lead the Department of Agriculture Tuesday afternoon.
Vilsack, who led the department for eight years under President Barack Obama, was confirmed 92-7 Tuesday, and is the ninth member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet to receive Senate confirmation.
Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against him, becoming the first non-GOP senator to vote against one of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were the additional “no” votes.
Vilsack, who leads the lobbying group U.S. Dairy Export Council, received bipartisan praise during his confirmation hearing but received some pushback from progressives following his nomination. Biden selected Vilsack over Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, for whom progressive organizations had lobbied.
Fudge was later nominated to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Senate also confirmed Linda Thomas-Greenfield earlier Tuesday to be the American ambassador to the United Nations. Biden’s nominees to lead the Department of the Interior and Health and Human Services had their confirmation hearings Tuesday as well.
However, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who Biden tapped to lead the Interior and Health and Human Services Departments, respectively, both had contentious hearings Tuesday. Republicans grilled Haaland over her opposition to fossil fuels and liberal environmental record, while they pressed Becerra on his lack of medical experience and his position on abortion. (RELATED: Biden Introduces Climate Team)
Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, faces an increasingly unlikely chance of being confirmed. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said that he would vote against her on Sunday, and was joined by moderate Republicans on Monday.
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