Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley predicts smooth sailing ahead for the process that will make former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Grassley says he met with Vilsack on Monday in Washington D.C. and says it went "wonderfully well." Grassley says Vilsack will go before the Senate Ag Committee next Wednesday, January 14th.
Grassley says, "I would even predict at this point, unless there’s some big surprise out there I don’t know about, that there won’t be any votes against his nomination." The Senate Ag Committee is chaired by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin. Grassley says he and Vilsack chatted for about 45 minutes Monday on several issues.
"I discussed my efforts to make sure that only family farmers are participating in the farm program, people that are involved in the family operation," Grassley says. "We have government accountability reports of people who’ve been dead five or six years receiving farm payments." Grassley, a Republican, has high praise for Democrat Vilsack, who would become the fifth Iowan to serve as U.S. Ag Secretary.
Grassley says, "Agriculture in the United States, particularly the family farm agriculture that’s so dominant in the Midwest, is very fortunate to have somebody from Iowa, and an Iowan who was governor and who understands agriculture, to be Secretary of Agriculture." Vilsack’s nomination could go before the full Senate in time for him to take office on January 20th, the same day Barack Obama will be sworn in as President.