Betsy DeVos' confirmation in peril as 2 Republican senators say they'll vote against her

Betsy DeVos' confirmation in peril as 2 Republican senators say they'll vote against her
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Betsy DeVos' nomination as secretary of education is in danger, after two Republican senators said they will vote against her confirmation.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska both announced Wednesday they will vote no on DeVos' confirmation.

If just one more Republican falls off, the count would put DeVos below the 50-vote threshold needed for confirmation, and would be the first of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees to go down.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer was unmoved by Collins and Murkowski's defections, telling reporters at a news conference after the announcement that he is "100% confident she will be the next secretary of education."

DeVos' nomination has become one of Trump's most controversial after a series of high-profile fumbles during her confirmation process.

During her confirmation hearing, DeVos cited the threat of grizzly bears as a reason to allow guns in schools.

She also couldn't answer questions on basic education policies, including proficiency versus growth and policies regarding students with a disability.

And her lack of knowledge on those issues left Democrats on the committee in visible shock — Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) called DeVos' confirmation hearing "the most embarrassing hearing I've ever attended."

The public outcry against DeVos was swift, with Democrats and education advocates launching a mass effort to sway senators to vote against her confirmation.

That effort appears to have worked on Collins and Murkowski, who both said DeVos' hearings left them with "serious concerns."

"I come to the floor to announce a very difficult decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation's next secretary of education," Collins said Wednesday in a speech on the Senate floor.

Murkowski took the Senate floor after Collins. "I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education... who has been so immersed in the discussion of vouchers," she said.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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