2 GOP Senators say they will oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

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.

Speaking after Collins, Murkowski said she too had several concerns over the nominee.

“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.”

The White House has since said it has “zero” concern that DeVos’ nomination is in peril.
“I have 100 percent confidence she will be the next secretary of education,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily press briefing with reporters calling DeVos an “unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers, parents.”
“I think that the games being played with Betsy DeVos are sad,” he concluded.