The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry late Wednesday voted to favorably report the nomination of Mindy Brashears to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.

Her nomination may now be considered by the full U.S. Senate for confirmation. That floor vote is expected to occur before the holidays.

Brashears is a professor and director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. President Donald J. Trump nominated her on May 4 to be the nation’s fifth Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.

The position became vacant five years ago when Dr. Elisabeth Hagen left government service.

Committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, also reported the agriculture committee voted out the nominations of Naomi Earp to be Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights; and Scott Hutchins to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics

“I am pleased to announce the Senate Agriculture Committee has done its part to get these qualified nominees ready for work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Roberts said. “The full Senate should confirm these qualified nominees as quickly as possible.”

Currently, eight of the 13 top USDA jobs requiring Senate nomination are filled. Favorable floor action on the three candidates would raise that number to 11. The last Senate confirmation vote involving USDA came on Nov. 27 with the 53-46 vote to confirm Stephen A. Vaden as the department’s general counsel.

The Committee held a hearing  for the  three nominees on November 28.

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