Schafer Hearing Goes Smoothly

A friendly Senate Agriculture Committee put the Ag Secretary nominee through his paces.

Former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer was well received by the Senate Agriculture Committee during his confirmation hearing Thursday to become the next Secretary of Agriculture. He was nominated last October after Mike Johanns resigned to run for a Senate seat in Nebraska.

Most members of the committee gave their full support to Schafer. The big question that he was quizzed on during the hearing was how he could bring Congress and the White House together on the farm bill. There is a large gap in what each side wants and the Administration has threatened a veto.

"I hope that as the new kid on the block, I can come in with a fresh prospective, a different outlook and narrow that gap," Schafer says. "I know that the President wants to sign a new farm bill this year, and I think all of us working together hopefully can accomplish that."

Senate Ag Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says he'll try to move Schafer's nomination quickly to the floor so Schafer can attend Monday's State of the Union as a member of the President's cabinet.

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