Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge, of Cleveland, has been asked to lead the United States Department of Agriculture late this evening in a telephone conversation with President-elect Joe Biden.
The nomination is widely seen as a demonstration of the vast influence that Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) is expected to enjoy during the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
It also has Democrats expecting that Clyburn intends to stay in the House of Representatives in order to succeed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Fudge, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee and chairs the subcommittee on nutrition, is expected to pursue a ‘sweeping expansion’ of food stamp benefits that would eliminate means-testing and increase the benefit to $1,200 per month for an individual with no dependents.
Such a plan would cost $360 billion every month.
By making eligibility for food stamp benefits universal, many progressives believe that would be the easiest way for the Biden administration to roll out a program that will eventually evolve into a Universal Basic Income (UBI) benefit.
That policy approach was enthusiastically advanced by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and has become the primary policy prerogative of the left. In a narrowly divided Congress, it’s political plausibility remains uncertain.
“Long term, the way that we reduce health care costs and improve public health is by ensuring everyone access to fresh produce,” a source on Biden’s transition team explains.