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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday voted 92-7 to confirm former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

The big picture: Vilsack, a longtime supporter of President Biden, is returning to the department he led for eight years under the Obama administration. He served as governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007.

Between the lines: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against Vilsack's confirmation, becoming the first member of the Senate Democratic caucus to vote against a Biden nominee.

What to expect: During his confirmation hearing, Vilsack emphasized the need for the USDA and agriculture sector to help lead the way in mitigating the effects of climate change.

  • "USDA will lead the federal government in building and maintaining new markets in America that diversify rural economies; ... investing in renewable energy; creating a thriving biobased manufacturing sector ... and delivering science-based solutions to help mitigate and reduce climate change," he said during his prepared remarks.

Go deeper: What Vilsack as Biden's agriculture secretary means for energy and climate

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.

Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas four Trump aides

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Jan 6. select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed four aides to former President Trump for testimony and documents.

Why it matters: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former communications official Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were all in touch "with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee said in a release.