Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief
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The Senate easily approved Sonny Perdue on Monday to lead the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA).

Senators voted 87-11 on the former Georgia governor's nomination, readily hitting the simple majority needed to approve President Trump's pick.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.) praised Perdue from the Senate floor earlier Monday, saying they would work together to "continue developing smart agriculture policies that support both Kentucky and our country." 

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Democratic senators also lined up ahead of the vote to voice support.

Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line Democrats offer resolution denouncing white supremacists ahead of Trump trial MORE (D-Wis.), who is up for reelection in a state that picked Trump for president — backed Perdue's nomination. 

“I’m pleased to vote for Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue today, and I look forward to working together to strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural economy and our rural communities," she said in a statement. 

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Trumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats MORE (D-Del.), who is co-founder of the Senate Chicken Caucus, expressed support for Perdue but urged him to stand against Trump's proposed budget cuts. 

"I will challenge Gov. Perdue to push back against some of the biggest proposed budget cuts to vital federal programs that support Delaware agriculture," he said. 

Trump's budget proposal suggests slashing the Agriculture Department's funding by 21 percent — a cut of $4.7 billion to $17.9 billion — the third-largest proposed cut to any federal agency.

Perdue said during his committee hearing that he would push back against such budget cuts.

The former governor was expected to get bipartisan support after a smooth confirmation process, including clearing the Senate Agriculture Committee on a voice vote. 

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandPentagon launches civilian-led commission to address military sexual assault Capito asks White House to allow toxic chemicals rule to proceed Lobbying world MORE (D-N.Y.) was the only committee member to oppose him.

Perdue pledged during his confirmation hearing to expand global trade for U.S. agriculture  

“I plan to be onsite as USDA’s chief salesman around the world to sell these products, to negotiate these deals side by side with USTR [the U.S. trade representative], side by side with [Commerce] Secretary [Wilbur] Ross and our whole team there,” he told lawmakers at the time.

Trump announced his selection of Perdue in January. The former classroom teacher served on Trump’s agriculture advisory committee during the 2016 race and is also a cousin of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who presided over Monday's vote.