Senate

Schumer to GOP: Work with us to block Betsy DeVos

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is making an 11th-hour appeal to Republicans, urging them to reject Betsy DeVos’s nomination to lead the Department of Education. 

“We need just one more vote, and we can get a lot better secretary of Education than the one who was nominated,” Schumer said from the Senate floor on Monday. 
 
A final vote on DeVos is expected on Tuesday with Democrats pledging to pull an all-nighter late Monday to protest her nomination. 
 
Schumer said that Republicans should “look into their conscience and cast their votes not based on party loyalty, but based on whether or not Ms. DeVos is qualified to be our nation’s leader on education policy.” 
 
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have said they will vote against DeVos. 
 
{mosads}Schumer praised the two GOP senators, calling them “courageous” for becoming the first Republican lawmakers to buck a President Trump Cabinet pick. 
 
Democrats are running out of options for potential GOP senators who could help sink DeVos. Republican Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Deb Fischer (Neb.) — each considered potential candidates to flip and oppose DeVos — announced late last week that they would support Trump’s nominee.
 
Unless Democrats can peel off a third Republican senator, Vice President Pence is expected to break a 50-50 tie to confirm DeVos. It would mark the first time a vice president has cast the deciding vote on a nomination. 

DeVos, a GOP mega-donor, has been the subject of fierce opposition from teachers unions and other liberal groups over her support for charter schools and tuition vouchers using public funds. 

Schumer blasted DeVos on Monday, calling her the “least qualified” of Trump’s Cabinet picks. 
 
“In my mind, she is the least-qualified nominee in a historically unqualified Cabinet. On conflicts of interest she ranks among the worst,” he said. “She seems to constantly demand the main purpose of her job: public education.” 
 
DeVos endured a rocky confirmation hearing during which she at one point appeared to advocate for guns in school because of the possibility of a grizzly bear attack, at least in Wyoming.
 
Schumer called her answers during the committee hearing “embarrassing.” 
 
“Not only for her, but for my Republican colleagues on the committee who rushed her nomination through with five minutes of questions,” he said. 
Tags Charles Schumer Dean Heller Deb Fischer John Hoeven Lisa Murkowski Susan Collins
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