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Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the second time.

The Senate voted 92-7 to confirm Vilsack. He is the 32nd Agriculture secretary and the ninth member of President BidenJoe BidenCNN: Bidens' dogs removed from the White House Federal judge rules 'QAnon shaman' too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE’s Cabinet to be confirmed by the Senate. Vilsack previously served for eight years as head of USDA under former President Obama.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders urges support for Newsom amid recall effort This week: Congress set to send .9 trillion coronavirus bill to Biden Lawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' MORE (I-Vt.), voted against Vilsack’s nomination, marking the first senator who caucuses with the Democrats to vote against a Biden Cabinet pick. 

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Vilsack's nomination received pushback last month from progressives who felt he was too aligned with major agricultural corporations when he was Obama’s head of the USDA. Vilsack is now president of the dairy lobby group, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

GOP Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (Ky.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyBlunt retirement shakes up Missouri Senate race McCaskill responds to Blunt retiring: 'I will never run for office again' Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 MORE (Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBiden grants temporary legal status to thousands of Venezuelans in US GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships MORE (Fla.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Major offshore wind project update | Biden to propose revocation of Trump bird rule | 12 states sue Biden over 'social cost' of greenhouse gases The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble GOP stumbles give Democrats new hope in Texas MORE (Texas), and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanIs nonpartisan effectiveness still possible? Senate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote Senate GOP gets short-lived win on unemployment fight MORE (Alaska) also voted against his nomination Tuesday.

Before serving in the Obama administration, Vilsack, 70, had served as governor of Iowa. He received bipartisan praise from the Senate Agriculture Committee and his nomination was unanimously advanced by the panel. 

Biden passed up Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Johns Hopkins University - CDC announces long-awaited guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble This week: Congress set to send .9 trillion coronavirus bill to Biden MORE (D-Ohio) for the role, who was backed by a number of progressive groups and is a vocal force for protecting food banks and food insecurity programs. One climate group, 350.org, called Vilsack’s selection a “stark contrast” with the wide backing for Fudge.

Fudge is Biden’s nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Vilsack fielded questions on trade during his confirmation hearing and said he will work to stabilize and secure trade policy in the aftermath of the Trump administration.  

He is also set to take over the agency during the coronavirus pandemic, which has put the spotlight on food insecurity. He said at his hearing he would bolster the capacity at food banks and pantries to keep up with the recent demand.

Vilsack said he is also focused on fighting climate change and partnering with Congress on efforts toward zero emission agriculture.

The Senate confirmed Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldAmerica's new multilateralism CBC 'unequivocally' endorses Shalanda Young for White House budget chief Blinken speaks with Ethiopian leader about human rights concerns in Tigray MORE to represent the United States at the United Nations as ambassador earlier on Tuesday.

Other confirmed Cabinet members include Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Increased security on Capitol Hill amid QAnon's March 4 date The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill MORE, Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Senate begins marathon vote-a-rama before .9T COVID-19 relief passage The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasTeam Biden offers alternative reality on border crisis with no plan to fix it Psaki: 'We don't take advice' from Trump on immigration MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff doesn't let falling equipment stop his report MORE, Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesTo win the climate battle, we need the intelligence community The intelligence community must evolve with the information age Duckworth calls for Russian bounties intelligence to be declassified MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBiden pledges to end 'scourge of sexual assault in the military' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Johns Hopkins University - CDC announces long-awaited guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans Will Lloyd Austin stand up to the generals? MORE, Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenYellen dismisses inflation fears from COVID-19 relief package White House: 'Large number' to receive ,400 checks this month The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble MORE and Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenJill Biden: Global pandemic underscores how 'we are all connected' Seoul sees hope in Biden's North Korea approach US proposes interim power-sharing deal between Taliban, Afghan government: report MORE.

Updated at 3:17 p.m.