Doug McKalip and Alexis Taylor are yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate
By Diego Flammini
Multiple U.S. ag organizations and businesses are calling on senators to confirm two ag trade representatives within President Biden’s administration.
About 60 groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Bayer and Syngenta signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking them to expedite the confirmations of Alexis Taylor and Doug McKalip.
In June, President Biden nominated Doug McKalip to be the chief agricultural negotiator within the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved McKalip’s nomination in September by a vote of 27-0.
In May, the president nominated Alexis Taylor to be the USDA’s under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
And in September, the Senate Ag Committee supported Taylor’s nomination.
Both nominations still require full senate approval.
And the ag industry wants these confirmations to happen before the calendar turns to 2023.
“We ask that the U.S. Senate confirm these highly qualified nominees to these important posts before the end of this year,” the Nov. 29 letter says.
The longer these positions remain unfilled, the more likely it is the U.S. is left out of some trade discussions.
Canada, the EU, China and Japan have each entered multiple trade agreements in recent years.
The U.S. needs Taylor and McKalip confirmed to ensure American agriculture can be brought to customers around the world.
“If we are not aggressively pursuing new market opportunities, we will also face long-term weakness in this sector with devastating impacts for rural America,” the letter says.
Stacey Dean, President Biden’s pick as the USDA’s under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer branch, and Jose Emilio Esteban, whom the president nominated to be the USDA under secretary for food safety, are also awaiting senate confirmation.
The Senate has until Dec. 22 to complete its work for the current congressional session.