GOP senators oppose DeVos as education secretary

Senator Richard Burr

Donald Trump's nomination of school choice activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary is on thin ice after two Republican senators vowed to vote against her.

Collins and Murkowski both said in Senate floor speeches Wednesday that DeVos' commitment to the nation's public schools is in question in light of her long-held support for vouchers and charter schools.

They join Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat who also announced he wouldn't support Mrs. DeVos, despite generally voting to back President Trump's picks.

She cited the nominee's lack of experience with public schools would make it hard for her to identify with the challenges educators face, particularly in rural areas such as Maine.

Reports emerged Wednesday that Toomey was seen as a critical vote on DeVos, after two fellow Republican senators announced their opposition to her confirmation.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing on 1 February that he had "100 percent confidence" in Ms DeVos's confirmation. Murkowski the calls and emails of her constituents played a big role in her decision to oppose DeVos.

Senate rules require a simple majority of 51 votes for cabinet appointees.

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According to The Hill, Murkowski spoke after Collins and said she too would be unable to vote for DeVos' confirmation.

Ernst says she shares a belief with DeVos that those who are closest to the students - such as parents, teachers and local administrators - know what's best for students. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who was seen as the final potential swing vote, said late Wednesday afternoon. They also said they're concerned with DeVos' lack of knowledge about a 40-year-old law governing special education.

Murkowski's decision was based on both an outpouring of responses from Alaskans as well as her own research.

Devos's conformation vote is expected Friday and Republicans are scrambling to ensure no other senators cross the lines before the vote.

DeVos underwent tense questioning during her confirmation hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in January and a confirmation vote in the full Senate was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

Democrats have sought to raise alarms around her support for expanding charter schools and school vouchers, which critics argue undermine public education due to lack of regulation and accountability.

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