Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer moved Thursday to force the chamber to act on Robert Bonnie's nomination to be the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for farm production and conservation.
The nomination of Bonnie, who is now serving as a senior climate adviser at USDA, isn't necessarily controversial, but a varying number of senators have put holds on his nomination, many for reasons unrelated to Bonnie himself, Sen. John Boozman, the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, told Agri-Pulse.
For those objecting senators, Bonnie is "a high profile guy that they know the administration wants" to get confirmed, Boozman said.
He said he didn't know which senators were holding up consideration of Bonnie, but they effectively prevented the Senate from approving the nomination by a voice vote.
Schumer filed cloture on Bonnie's nomination on Thursday, teeing up votes on him after the Senate returns from next week's scheduled recess.
If confirmed, Bonnie would oversee the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency and play a key role in implementing the administration's climate policy.
Also on Thursday, the Senate Ag Committee approved the nomination of Rostin Behnam to serve as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Behnam has been serving as acting chairman.
During his confirmation hearing last week, Behnam said the CFTC should have some input in the development of agricultural carbon markets to ensure they operate fairly.
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