Portman Bucks Pressure from Opposition and Endorses Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary
- Author: Annette Adams Feb 04, 2017,
Feb 04, 2017, 0:21
Sen. Rob Portman will vote for President Donald Trump's education secretary pick Betsy DeVos, making it that much harder for Democrats to kill her nomination.
The proceeding started at 6:30 a.m., an unusually early time for a confirmation vote on a nominee, who's facing opposition even from some Republicans.
"I come to the floor to announce a very hard decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation's next secretary of Education", said Collins on the floor of the Senate.
The nomination of DeVos, a MI billionaire who has spent decades advocating for private-school vouchers, has unleashed a wave of opposition that is unprecedented for a prospective education secretary.
As things now stand, Vice President Mike Pence would have to cast a rare tie-breaking vote in her favor to send her nomination over the finish line. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - a pair of moderates - announced their opposition during separate Senate floor speeches.
Vice President Mike Pence would step in at that point to break the tie in favor of DeVos's nomination.
Murray, the Democrat from Washington, has received over 50,000 calls and letters on DeVos alone, said her spokesman Eli Zupnick.
The Senate has 52 Republicans, and DeVos needs 51 for a confirmation. That final vote is our target, and the next few days are our chance to stop DeVos.
Spicer added, "I think the games being played with Betsy DeVos are sad", calling her an "unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers, and parents". If Democrats all vote against DeVos, they need only one more dissenting Republican to kill the nomination.
"Our major concern is that she does not appear to support public education". Collins declared that she can not and will not support DeVos.
The Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee voted 12-11 along party lines Tuesday to send her nomination to the Senate floor.
DeVos later said that she had misunderstood the question and vowed to committee members that she would support any federal laws in place and not attempt to push states to accept vouchers or school choice at the expense of public schools.
Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said he had "serious concerns" about Department of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, but that she'd addressed them to his satisfaction after they met.
There has been a national outcry against DeVos winning confirmation.
Both senators cited uncertainty about whether DeVos, an avid supporter of charter schools and school vouchers, is sufficiently committed to helping public schools.
She's a billionaire who donated to the Trump campaign and has supported private schools. "My voting record shows that, and I don't anticipate I'm going to be changing my position".