Idaho senators oppose new education secretary

President Obama’s choice for education secretary received bipartisan backing Monday.

However, Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch opposed John King’s confirmation, which passed the Senate on a 49-40 vote.

The confirmation came as Senate Republicans have threatened to block any nomination to the Supreme Court. And the vote on King suggested that education “has become a rare issue on which a polarized Washington can reach bipartisan compromise,” Washington Post reporter Emma Brown wrote Monday.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., pushed for Monday’s vote.

“This vote is not about whether one of us would have chosen Dr. King to be the education secretary. Republicans won’t have the privilege of picking an education secretary until we elect the president of the United States,” Alexander said, according to the Washington Post report. “We need a United States Education Secretary confirmed by and accountable to the United States Senate so that the law to fix No Child Left Behind will be implemented the way Congress wrote it.”

King, a former state education commissioner in New York, succeeds Arne Duncan, who stepped down late last year.