DeVos nomination clears Senate committee

The controversial Betsy DeVos nomination survived a narrow, party-line vote in Senate committee Tuesday morning.

Betsy DeVos

The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved President Trump’s education secretary nominee on a 12-11 vote.

Some clips from Tuesday morning:

From the Associated Press. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska supported DeVos in committee, but aren’t saying whether they will support her nomination on the Senate floor.

From The Huffington Post. Ranking committee Democrat Patty Murray had asked for a postponement of Monday’s vote, to allow additional review of the Michigan billionaire’s financial dealings. That request was denied. “Sen. Murray does not believe that members of the committee have enough information about Ms. DeVos’ opaque finances, conflicts of interest, and other issues,” Murray spokesman Eli Zupnick said.

From Education Week. In one written response, DeVos said she will not try to pressure states to dump the Common Core standards, since federal law gives states jurisdiction over academic standards. Trump opposes Common Core.

From The Washington Post. DeVos’ written responses appears to use words and phrases from other sources, without attribution. In one instance, DeVos uses language that mirrors an Obama administration civil rights official.

From CNN. Democrats vowed to continue to press the case on the plagiarism charge. A White House official dismissed the allegation. “To level an accusation against her about these words included in responses to nearly 1,400 questions — 139 alone from the ranking member — is simply a desperate attempt to discredit Betsy DeVos, who will serve the Department of Education and our nation’s children with distinction if confirmed,” said Trump education adviser Rob Goad.

Tuesday’s vote was the latest chapter in what has become a bitter and partisan confirmation process.

DeVos — a longtime supporter of school vouchers and charter schools in her native Michigan — has galvanized supporters and opponents alike. Supporters say DeVos will be an effective advocate for the school choice movement; opponents question her commitment to public schools.

More reading: ‘She’s my party’s nominee.’ House Speaker Scott Bedke signs letter of support for DeVos.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday