Dec 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to pick Vilsack for agriculture secretary, Fudge for HUD

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Rep. Marcia Fudge

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Rep. Marcia Fudge. Photos: Tom Williams/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as his Agriculture secretary and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge as his Housing and Urban Development secretary, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The selection of Vilsack is another example of Biden turning to a trusted friend to serve in a key role.

  • The choice of Fudge may appease some members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who lobbied Biden to choose her for the agricultural post. Fudge's planned nomination was first reported by Politico.
  • An announcement could come as soon as this week.

The big picture: Members of the CBC made it a priority to help install Fudge at agriculture to signal that the department was more focused on serving agricultural consumers and not just producers.

  • Biden’s choice of Vilsack indicates he wants the USDA to stay more focused on its traditional roles of supporting farmers ensuring food safety.

Between the lines: Fudge’s departure will shave one seat off Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s razor-thin majority in the House.

  • But Pelosi is likely prepared for her loss. “Look for her to be in the Cabinet,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said on MSNBC Tuesday morning. “It may not be at Agriculture, but she will be nominated to be in the Cabinet.”

Flashback: Vilsack was a prominent Biden supporter in the Iowa caucuses and defended Biden as his campaign limped to a fourth-place finish.

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