AUDIO: Grassley comments on Northey vote during morning teleconference.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey’s Senate Ag Committee vote continues to be held up in committee.
The Senate Ag Committee was going to vote to confirm Northey Tuesday but Chuck Grassley says his confirmation is being held up.
“It isn’t being held up because of anything about Northey or (Nebraska Ag Commissioner Greg Ibach). They are relatively non-controversial. There is a feeling it is being head up by Democrats throwing sand in the gears,” Grassley says.
He says they question whether USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue had the authority to re-organize the department under Northey.
“The re-organization took place in April. Why just now, when it wasn’t even an issue at Northey’s hearing, is it an issue now? I’m very disturbed this issue is being brought up now slowing nominees that didn’t have anything to do with the reorganization.”
Grassley says it looks mysterious.
“Northey and Ibach should have been approved three or four weeks ago. That is impossible but get them approved yet today or tomorrow. I am going to have to discuss this with people on the agriculture committee and see what we can get moving.”
Senate Ag Committee ranking member (D- Michigan) Debbie Stabenow’s office said Stabenow supports Northey’s nomination and is committed to working with Chairman Roberts to fill USDA with qualified nominees as quickly as possible.
“The Committee is working to clarify an issue concerning Mr. Northey’s title and duties because the Trump administration nominated him for a position that USDA intends to rename and restructure under the ongoing USDA reorganization. We are working to address this issue expeditiously so the Committee can move forward and continue to fill vacancies at USDA,” Stabenow’s office said over email.