Senate GOP votes to nix Obama-era education rules
© Keren Carrion

The Senate is taking a hammer to a pair of Obama-era education rules.

Senators voted 50-49 on Thursday to roll back a regulation that placed tougher accountability measures on schools.

The rule detailed how public schools must carry out laws meant to ensure they are meeting the needs of all students. 

Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act to nix the Obama regulations, allowing them to undo the rules without any support from Democrats. 

Thursday's vote comes after senators voted 59-40 on Wednesday to nix teacher preparation requirements. 

Under that regulation states had to issue ratings for teacher-prep programs, and poorly performing schools would be penalized by being ineligible for some federal aid. 


The House has already voted to eliminate both of the education regulations, meaning the bills will now head to the desk of President Trump, who is expected to sign them. 

The rules stem from the Every Student Succeeds Act, an overhaul of the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. Democrats argue the rules are needed to clarify what schools must do to comply with the 2015 law. 

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators seek answers on surprise medical bills | Red states move to limit Medicaid expansion | Two drug companies agree to testify Senate Dems block Sasse measure meant to respond to Virginia bill DeVos's proposal to change campus sexual assault guidelines draws over 100,000 responses MORE (D-Wash.) called the repeal of the school accountability plans a "blank check for [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos to promote her anti-public schools agenda."

"Eliminating this rule will give Secretary DeVos more power over our higher-education programs — a risk we should not be willing to take without learning more about Secretary DeVos's vision for our higher education system," Murray said about the teacher prep rule.

But Republicans argue the regulations put "Washington bureaucrats" in local public schools.

"[The regulation] allows the federal government to insert itself into the way states choose to prepare their teachers for the classroom," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' Winners and losers in the border security deal House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency MORE (R-Ky) said. 

He added that the Obama administration tried to use the rules to "shift power ... to Washington bureaucrats" months after Congress overhauled the No Child Left Behind Act. 

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCongress must move forward on measure dealing with fentanyl GOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees Key doctors group faces political risks on guns MORE (R-Tenn.) added on Thursday that the regulation does things "that the Congress said in our law that the department can not do."