Franken: No Dems will vote to confirm DeVos for secretary of Education

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) says President Trump’s pick for secretary of Education will get no votes from Democrats.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday, Franken said Democrats were looking to convince Republicans to oppose Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as well.

“She is an ideologue who knows next to nothing about education policy as … she demonstrated really in her confirmation hearing,” Franken said. “There’s going to be a lot of these nominees who we’re going to do everything we can to defeat.”

{mosads}Franken faced off with DeVos during her confirmation hearing last week. DeVos fumbled when asked about whether students should be measured by proficiency or growth.

“I think if I’m understanding your question correctly around proficiency, I would also correlate it to competency and mastery so each student is measured according to the advancement they’re making in each subject area,” DeVos began to answer the question.

Franken cut her off, noting that she was explaining growth, not proficiency.

“It surprises me you don’t know this issue, and Mr. Chairman, I think this is a good reason for us to have more questions,” Franken said.

Democratic opposition to DeVos has grown since her hearing, as senators have announced that they plan to oppose her confirmation.

Liberal groups have jammed senators’ phone lines with thousands of calls urging them to vote against her. 

Democrats had hoped to hold a second hearing on DeVos and asked Republicans for the chance to further scrutinize DeVos’s qualifications and any potential conflicts of interest. 

“We feel very strongly there ought to be another hearing, and this will affect how the rest of the nominees will go forward because we need time on them,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at the hearing last week. 

But he Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions rejected the request for a second hearing, even after after Senate Democrats sent a letter to chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

The panel will hold an executive session to vote on DeVos’s nomination on Jan. 31.

The GOP has a 52-seat majority in the Senate. DeVos needs 50 votes to be confirmed. So Democrats would need to get three Republican senators to vote against DeVos to stop her confirmation.

Tags Al Franken Charles Schumer Lamar Alexander

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