Fight breaks out among Democrats over who should serve as Biden’s Agriculture Secretary

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Fight breaks out among Democrats over who should serve as Biden’s Agriculture Secretary – as influential party members push for President-elect to pick black congresswoman over more conservative choices

  • Joe Biden has yet to name his nominee for Secretary of Agriculture
  • Congressman James Clyburn is pushing for the President-elect to name Rep. Marcia Fudge to the role
  • Clyburn says the Agriculture Department is currently too focused on overwhelmingly white Midwestern states and needs to include the diverse south
  • Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsac have also been touted as possible picks for the job 
  • Clyburn claims those choices represent a continuation of the Obama Administration, and Democrats need to shake things up
  • The Democratic Party is currently locked in a battle over how progressive Biden’s presidency should be
  • Some want to push far left, while others want to appeal to moderate Democrats and Independents closer to the center

A fight is breaking out among Democrats over who Joe Biden should pick to be his Secretary of Agriculture. 

The president-elect has yet to appoint the person who will head up the Agriculture Department, which oversees various agencies including the United States Forest Service, the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Food Stamp Program. 

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn – who is widely seen as playing a crucial role in Biden’s Democratic primary victory – told The New York Times on Thursday that Biden should name Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to the powerful position. 

Fudge – a black woman who currently leads the nutrition and oversight panel on the House Agriculture Committee – also has the support of two of Biden’s closest advisors, according to the Times. 

Biden has yet to nominate a person to the powerful position

Biden has yet to nominate a person to the powerful position

A fight is breaking out among Democrats over who Joe Biden should pick to be his Secretary of Agriculture. Rep. James Clyburn (left) is pushing for the President-elect to pick Congresswoman Marcia Fudge – who may focus on food shortage issues in the role 

Fudge - a black woman who currently leads the nutrition and oversight panel on the House Agriculture Committee - also has the support of two of Biden's closest advisors, according to the Times

Fudge - a black woman who currently leads the nutrition and oversight panel on the House Agriculture Committee - also has the support of two of Biden's closest advisors, according to the Times

Fudge – a black woman who currently leads the nutrition and oversight panel on the House Agriculture Committee – also has the support of two of Biden’s closest advisors, according to the Times

Clyburn told the publication that he believes the Department of Agriculture should undergo drastic change, claiming it currently ‘favors big farming interests’ over ‘little farmers in Clarendon County, South Carolina, or food stamp recipients in Cleveland, Ohio’. 

He also claimed the Department is disproportionately focused on majority white states in the Midwest, with the food and agricultural needs of the rural south largely neglected. 

‘I’m sick and tired of people saying that rural America is only Nebraska and Iowa,’ Clyburn later stated to the New York Post. 

‘Rural America is South Carolina, it’s Mississippi, it’s Alabama. It’s Georgia. It was black rural voters who helped Biden carry Georgia in the general election.’

He claims Fudge is the right woman to shake up the Department, and is putting pressure on Biden to name her to the position.    

More conservative names are also being thrown around. Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is being touted as a possible contender (pictured)

More conservative names are also being thrown around. Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is being touted as a possible contender (pictured)

More conservative names are also being thrown around. Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is being touted as a possible contender (pictured)

However, more conservative names are also being thrown around. 

Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is being touted as a possible contender, as is former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsac. 

Vilsack served as Secretary of Agriculture for the Obama Administration from 2009 to  2017. 

Clyburn has blasted speculation that Vilsack will be tapped to serve again, saying that Biden’s presidency should not be a third term for the Obama Administration. 

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsac - who has already served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama Administration - is also being touted as a possible Biden pick

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsac - who has already served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama Administration - is also being touted as a possible Biden pick

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsac – who has already served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama Administration – is also being touted as a possible Biden pick 

‘I don’t know why we’ve got to be recycling,’ he told The Times. 

He added that there is ‘a strong feeling that black farmers did not get a fair shake’ while Vilsack was serving in the role. 

Meanwhile, others say Biden should choose Fudge as a sign of respect to Clyburn for the vital role he played in the Democratic primary. 

‘Biden owes his presidency to Clyburn, and Clyburn is going all in for Fudge. Publicly. It would be a huge slap if he picked Heitkamp at this point,’ activist Ady Barkan wrote on Twitter on Thursday. 

Democrats are already clashing over whether they should push progressive policies during Biden’s presidency, or try and appeal more to centrist Democrats and Independents. 

The argument comes after many moderate Democrats in swing states blamed House losses on far-left politicians who pushed for a defunding of the police. 

So far, Biden has not indicated just how progressive his presidency will be, with his current cabinet picks all trending toward the establishment center-left. 

He has also stated that he will not appoint progressive politicians Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to cabinet posts as he needs them in the senate. 

Some say Biden should choose Fudge as a sign of respect to Clyburn for the vital role he played in the Democratic primary

Some say Biden should choose Fudge as a sign of respect to Clyburn for the vital role he played in the Democratic primary

Some say Biden should choose Fudge as a sign of respect to Clyburn for the vital role he played in the Democratic primary

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