Ahead of the confirmation process, Agriculture Secretary Nominee Tom Vilsack is meeting with lawmakers and agriculture groups. Minnesota Senator Tina Smith met with Vilsack on Monday via Zoom. The conversation centered around rural broadband, biofuels and the implementation of COVID-19 relief. “I know his top priority is to get his arms around how COVID relief is going and to get resources out the door as quickly as possible,” says Smith. COVID relief was also a focus when Vilsack met with fruit and vegetable groups. “A number of funds have been provided to the USDA to roll out and there were questions on how to efficiently do that,” says Kam Quarles, CEO, National Potato Council. “The big question is moving forward is what’s left undone?” Senate Democrats want to start the confirmation process as quickly as possible following inauguration day. The first confirmation hearings could start as soon as Thursday, January 21.
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