DeVos Nomination Advances to Full Senate

The Lyndon B. Johnson Building, headquarters of the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

A Senate committee has approved school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary, even as two GOP senators expressed some reservations.

DeVos has long supported charter schools and allowing school choice, prompting opposition from Democrats and teachers’ unions who view her stance as a threat to federal dollars that support public education. Critics have also mocked her for suggesting that guns could be justified in schools to protect students from grizzly bears.

After a heated debate Tuesday morning, senators on the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee voted 12–11 along partisan lines to support DeVos’ nomination, sending it to the full Senate for action.

But two prominent Republicans on the committee, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, expressed skepticism about DeVos and said they are not yet sure whether they will vote for her on the Senate floor. Murkowski said DeVos has yet to prove that she deeply cares about America’s struggling schools and its children.