Indiana teachers hold sit-in to demand Young recuse himself from DeVos vote

Indiana teachers hold sit-in to demand Young recuse himself from DeVos vote
© Greg Nash

A group of teachers in Indiana held a sit-in at the office of a senator they say should recuse himself from the vote to confirm President Trump’s pick for secretary of Education.

The teachers say Betsy DeVos gave Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen MORE (R-Ind.) $48,000 in donations last year, according to a report by local news outlet WTHR, which they say make his vote a conflict of interest.

“Why would she pay so much, with so much desire to have this job if she were unqualified for it?” said one teacher said to WTHR at Thursday’s sit-in.

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Young is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is scheduled to hold an executive session to vote on DeVos’s nomination on Jan. 31. 

Young’s staff reportedly said the senator does not plan to recuse himself from the vote, citing other senators who have received donations from previous presidents' Cabinet picks.

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world MORE (D-Ind.) reportedly received $5,000 from Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerElection Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment Former Obama officials launch advocacy group aimed at Trump's foreign policy Trump transportation chief to join Biden for jobs event MORE, who was confirmed as secretary of Commerce under President Obama in 2013.

Donnelly has said he will oppose DeVos for Education secretary, citing her lack of “commitment to public education needed to effectively lead the Department of Education.” 

Liberal groups have made thousands of calls to Senate offices of members of the Education Committee to protest DeVos's nomination.