Monday, March 06, 2017

Six weeks later, ag secretary confirmation still in limbo; FBI has yet to complete background check

Sonny Perdue and his wife Mary introducing then Indiana
 Gov. Mike Pence in August in Perry, Ga.
 (Macon Telegraph photo by Woody Marshall)
Six weeks after President Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary the Senate has yet to announce when a confirmation hearing will be held, Tamar Hallerman reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While Trump on Friday took to Twitter to blast Senate Democrats for the delay, the problem is that "Perdue’s paperwork has yet to technically arrive in the Senate, which means lawmakers have been unable to officially vet Perdue."

"The holdup appears to be with the FBI, which is conducting a comprehensive background check that’s customary for all Cabinet nominees, according to two Republican senators and a handful of aides in the Senate and administration," Hallerman writes. "Still unclear is what is causing the slowness or whether any red flags have been raised."

"Two transition officials and one White House aide not authorized to speak on the record insisted that nothing is wrong and that the delay has to do with Perdue being the last Cabinet nominee announced by the Trump administration, which put him at the back of the line as the feds screened other high-level picks," Hallerman writes. "The delay has led to frustration and some uneasiness on the part of Perdue’s allies, farm state lawmakers and Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who has underscored the need to quickly install a new agriculture head."

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