The Latest: Democrat backs agriculture secretary nominee

AP News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 2:10 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Senate consideration of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees (all times EST):

2 p.m.

President Donald Trump's nominee for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, has already won the support of one farm-state Democrat.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said Monday she'll support Perdue's nomination.

If confirmed, Perdue would be the first agriculture secretary from the South in more than two decades, and farm politics in Congress often fall along regional lines. While Midwestern lawmakers frequently back policies and government subsidies that are good for corn and soybean growers, Southerners champion those that pay farmers well for cotton and rice.

Heitkamp says that after with Perdue today, "I look forward to confirming him...and working with him to get results for North Dakota farmers and ranchers."

Heitkamp is up for re-election in 2018 and is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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1 p.m.

The Senate will be in session around the clock this week as Republicans aim to confirm more of President Donald Trump's Cabinet picks over Democratic opposition.

Democrats intend to drag out the process as much as possible using all the time they can under the Senate's arcane rules.

That means keeping the Senate in session 24 hours a day, beginning Monday as senators head to a showdown vote on Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.

DeVos, a wealthy GOP donor, has drawn particularly fierce opposition. Two GOP senators have announced plans to oppose her, which could result in a 50-50 Senate vote Tuesday. That would leave Vice President Mike Pence in the role of tie-breaker.

Votes will follow later in the week on picks for attorney general, Treasury, and other posts.