Despite concerns, the Senate Agriculture Committee advanced the nomination of Stephen Vadenn as the Department of Agriculture’s general counsel this week. The nomination moves on to the full Senate for a vote.
The committee approved the nomination on a 14 to 7 vote, Senate Agriculture ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow, along with fellow Democrats Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, joined all Republican members if the committee to vote in favor of the nomination, according to the Hagstrom Report. Stabenow said she was voting to move the nomination forward because” USDA needs a full staff as development of the next farm bill begins”, although adding that “this has not been an easy decision.”
Stabenow says she remains concerned about Vaden’s past legal work and personnel practices at USDA. Vaden has been working in the general counsel’s office since shortly after Trump took office. While in private practice, he represented conservative groups on voting rights issues.