Wednesday, February 1, 2017

HELP Committee Sends DeVos Confirmation to Full Senate; Possible Cracks Open in Republican Support | janresseger

HELP Committee Sends DeVos Confirmation to Full Senate; Possible Cracks Open in Republican Support | janresseger:

HELP Committee Sends DeVos Confirmation to Full Senate; Possible Cracks Open in Republican Support


Yesterday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its vote on President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. The members of the committee voted 12 to 11 (All Republicans voted yes, and all Democrats voted no.) to report the nomination for a vote of the full U.S. Senate. (I watched the live feed of the hearing and was moved by the depth of concern for public education expressed by several committee members. My commentary is from my notes; because there has to this time been no published transcript of the full committee meeting, I have linked all direct quotes to published press reports.)
The committee hearing was definitely not a routine proceeding. Two Republican Senators—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—expressed strong reservations about DeVos even as they voted to forward her nomination for a full Senate vote. Collins and Murkowski both said they are still considering whether or not they will finally vote to confirm the nominee. They explained that yesterday they voted to forward the nomination as a courtesy to the President.
In one of her reports after the proceeding, Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post writes: “Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire chosen by President Trump to be education secretary, brings a whole new dimension to the discussion of polarizing figures in education leadership. DeVos is clearly the most controversial education nominee in the history of the nearly 40-year-old Education Department… No education secretary nominee was opposed by the ranking member of the Senate education panel before Tuesday, when Democratic Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) voted against DeVos…. (T)he opposition to DeVos is less about politics and more about her vision for the future of American education.  DeVos has long been seen by many in the education world as on the forefront of the movement to spread school choice and using public dollars to allow families to pay for tuition at private schools and religious schools that are poorly regulated. She has directed millions of dollars from her family fortune to support candidates and programs that spread school choice—at the expense, critics say, of traditional public schools that educate the vast majority of America’s school children.”
Committee Chair, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former Secretary of Education himself under President George H.W. Bush, admitted in his opening statement that although the committee has been able to work together through bipartisanship in the past, in the crafting of the Every Student Succeeds Act as a replacement for No Child Left Behind, for example, the committee members are irreconcilably split on the issue of the DeVos nomination. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island accused Committee Chair Alexander, for example, of “steamrolling” the DeVos confirmation vote.
Two Democrats were particularly profound as they explained why they were opposing the HELP Committee Sends DeVos Confirmation to Full Senate; Possible Cracks Open in Republican Support | janresseger:
Choosing Democracy: Defeat DeVos- Call Your Senator Now tout de suite - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2017/01/choosing-democracy-defeat-devos-call.html

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