NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Senate has confirmed a Tennessee attorney to become the U.S. Department of Agriculture's general counsel.
Senators voted 53-46 this week to confirm Stephen Vaden amid opposition from some groups. Vaden is currently USDA's principal deputy general counsel.
GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Rep. David Kustoff lauded Vaden. Alexander said Vaden grew up on a family farm in Union City, attended Vanderbilt University and Yale Law School, and practiced at two distinguished Washington firms, Squire Patton Boggs and Jones Day.
Kustoff said Vaden is uniquely qualified as a third-generation farmer and attorney.
But the American Federation of Government Employees has said Vaden showed "contempt" for the union contract with Office of General Counsel workers.
Vaden has also faced criticisms over previous work defending state voter ID laws.