USDA Nominees Named to Deputy Positions

February 7, 2019

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has named three sub-Cabinet nominees to less-senior positions that do not require Senate confirmation, while continuing to urge their confirmation to the posts to which they were nominated.

In a January 28 announcement, Perdue said he was appointing –

  • Mindy Brashears as deputy undersecretary for food safety;

    Dr. Mindy Brashears

  • Naomi Earp as deputy assistant secretary for civil rights; and
  • Scott Hutchins as deputy undersecretary for research, education, and economics.

The three were approved last year by the Senate Agriculture Committee for the respective undersecretary and assistant secretary slots, but the full Senate never acted.  All unconfirmed nominations lapse at the end of a Congress, so the Trump Administration had to re-nominate the three this year.

Undersecretaries and most assistant secretaries are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, but their deputies are simply appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and do not require confirmation.  For most purposes, the three will be overseeing the agencies that report to them (including the Food Safety and Inspection Service), but there will be some limits on their authority until they are confirmed.