Senate

GOP senator joins all-nighter ahead of DeVos confirmation vote

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GOP Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined an around-the-clock Senate session early Tuesday morning, using the Democratic talkathon to explain his support for Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. 
 
“I believe she will help to improve public education,” Scott — the only black GOP senator — said from the Senate floor. “For too many of our children, a quality public education … is simply not happening.”
 
Scott added that he has talked to DeVos about her education views and believes she is in line “with many on this side of aisle,” adding that there isn’t a “binary choice” between public schools and school choice. 
 
“Both Republicans and Democrats around this nation, maybe not in this chamber … support Betsy DeVos,” Scott said. 
 
{mosads}Democrats are holding a rare all-nighter ahead of a vote expected around noon on Tuesday to confirm DeVos. Republicans are expected to have to bring in Vice President Pence to break a 50-50 tie. 
 
Scott added that it was “patently false” that DeVos would be able to “with a magic wand change eduction.” 
 
“She’s not going to be able to mandate school choice,” he said. “That will be our decision.” 
 
Instead, Scott said lawmakers should be having a larger debate over education separate from the DeVos nomination. 
 
“I am seriously concerned about our debate on Betsy DeVos, and I’m seriously concerned about public education,” he said. “[But] far too often we forget to have a debate about the children in the system.” 
 
Scott argued a “more important debate” would focus on the “educational experience of our students all around this nation and what that means, long term, for this nation and for our students.” 
 
The GOP senator stressed the importance of education in his own life, noting that he might have been the “first senator to fail civics.” 
 

“For me this is simply about quality education and how we get there,” he said. “It changed my life for the better.” 

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