** The Senate Ag Committee has officially received the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be the next Ag Secretary, clearing a major hurdle in the confirmation process.

A spokeswoman for the committee confirmed the news Friday.

Nominated the day before President Trump’s inauguration, reaction from ag groups has been generally supportive, with many seeing the former Georgia governor as a candidate likely to pass through the confirmation process once it’s underway.

** President Trump is nominating Scott Gottlieb, a physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to become commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The White House says Gottlieb, whose nomination will need Senate confirmation, served as deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs at the FDA in 2005.

FDA regulates the safety of 80 percent of the food supply, or most foods other than meat and poultry, which are under the oversight of the Department of Agriculture.

** President Trump this week will release a proposed budget for fiscal 2018 that is expected to call for deep cuts to agencies throughout the government to pay for a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

According to reports, the proposed cuts could be as high as 37 percent, for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, while the EPA could be reduced by 25 percent.

Many believe the budget, which is expected tomorrow, is almost certainly dead on arrival on Capitol Hill.

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