Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced Wednesday in back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor that they will vote against Education Department nominee Betsy DeVos, endangering her confirmation.
They are the first two Republicans to break with President Donald Trump on any of his Cabinet picks. If one more GOP senator opposes DeVos, it would almost certainly derail her nomination.
“This is not a decision I make lightly. I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. DeVos,” Collins said on the floor. “I will not, can not vote to confirm her.”
The senator specifically pointed to DeVos’ “lack of familiarly” with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, saying she was both “troubled and surprised” by her lack of knowledge.
“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of Education … who has been so immersed in the discussion of vouchers,” Murkowski said. “I do not intend to vote on final passage to support Ms. DeVos to be secretary of Education.”