US Ag Secretary jokes he’s wearing ‘Free Bill Northey’ t-shirt

KANSAS CITY — U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is suggesting he’ll ask the GOP leader in the U.S. Senate to intervene if an Iowan nominated for a top job in the USDA isn’t confirmed soon.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is blocking a Senate vote on Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s nomination to be U.S.D.A. Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Cruz wants President Trump to meet with oil-state senators who object to the federal production mandate for biofuels.

“I know that there’s a lot of tradition in the Senate,” Perdue said, “but this ‘blue slipping’ people for issues that don’t have anything to do with them I don’t agree with.”

Perdue spoke with farm broadcasters in Kansas City yesterday. Perdue joked that he was wearing a “Free Bill Northey” t-shirt under his suit.

“God help us if he’s not on board by January, for heaven’s sakes,” Northey said. “We hope to get that done. I will probably go and make direct appeals to the leadership of the Senate if it goes on that long.”

Ted Cruz isn’t the only Republican senator blocking confirmation of one of Perdue’s top aides. Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, is blocking a vote on the man President Trump picked to be the USDA’s chief agricultural negotiator. Perdue is due in Iowa this morning for events with Republican Congressman David Young and Governor Kim Reynolds.

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