WASHINGTON — Former Gov. Sonny Perdue was the last Cabinet pick announcedÂ by the Trump White House. The late timingÂ may mean the Republican’sÂ nomination to lead the Department of AgricultureÂ may beÂ among the last of the senior positions considered by the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the leader of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has been anxious to getÂ Perdue’s one and only confirmation hearing on the calendar. But a backlog of FBIÂ background checks, as well asÂ ugly fights in the Senate over some of Trump’s more contentious Cabinet picks, isÂ having a domino effect on other nominees in the queue such as Perdue, Roberts said.
“Heâd make a great secretary,” Roberts said Wednesday. “We just need to get him on board.â
Perdue allies wanted theÂ confirmation hearing to occur this week, before the Senate departs for its week-long President’s Day recess. But the Agriculture Committee is required under its rules to waitÂ for all paperwork to be filed before scheduling, and leaders said they are still waiting for information from the feds.
In the meantime, Perdue continues to crisscross the U.S. Capitol for private meetings with party leaders and individual senators.
After being spotted by one of your Insiders Wednesday morning, Perdue, flanked by several aides, was tight-lipped about his meetings beyond saying they have been progressing “very well.” “A great information exchange,” he said with a smile.
Perdue has been using a room in the office of his first cousin, Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue, as his home base while makingÂ the rounds on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Perdue said his cousin has been adjusting to life in Washington — the two are temporarily bunking together during the transition period — but that meeting with other senators has come easily for the former governor.
“He loves it, actually,” Perdue said in a recent interview. “Heâs a more natural schmoozer than I am and he makes friends easily.”
Since the Senate has been consumed with the vetting of other Cabinet nominees, such as budget and labor picks Mick Mulvaney andÂ Andy Puzder, Perdue so far has been able to fly under the radar largely undetected and without much controversy.