The Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted to move Doug McKalip’s nomination to be USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator to the full Senate for a final vote.  He won bipartisan support despite Republican objections to the Administration’s anti-free trade policy.


“I intend to support him, although I’m disappointed that the administration has not prioritized agricultural market access, including by taking too long to fill this position, I appreciate that the nominee recognizes the importance of opening foreign markets to our farmers," noted Top Finance Republican, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.  "Moreover, Mr. McKalip has extensive experience in agricultural issues.”


Including as current top adviser to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.  Earlier this summer, McKalip testified he thought he could assist the American farmer by expanding export opportunities.


U.S. agriculture groups reacted positively to the news of the McKalip vote.


“It’s clear there is bipartisan momentum behind both his nomination and the need to open markets for America’s farmers who rely on trade,” says Brian Kuehl, Farmers For Free Trade Executive Director.


“Doug McKalip is a strong choice to take on these challenges as our top trade advocate for American agriculture," noted Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.  "He has fans on both sides of this committee, and we expect to work closely with him once he’s confirmed and on the job.”


American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall added the vote comes at “an important time” as current and future trading partners look to the U.S. to help meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber.


The U.S. Meat Export Federation is asking the Senate for swift approval of McKalip in the upcoming vote. McKalip’s future boss, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, says, “Doug’s decades of public service and unparalleled knowledge of agricultural and food security issues will be a major asset to our office.” 


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