There’s a lot of heat out there against Ms Devos.
Teachers unions, advocacy groups and others are jamming Senate phone lines, funding TV ads and rallying on the ground to stop Betsy DeVos from becoming President Trump’s secretary of Education. But their efforts, at least for now, appear to be coming up one vote short.
With her final Senate confirmation vote set for Tuesday at noon, the chamber still seems locked in a 50-50 split on the nomination. If that happens, Vice President Pence is expected to cast a historic, tie-breaking vote to confirm her.
This scenario has DeVos’ critics going into overdrive in a bid to peel off one more Republican to vote nay.
“We are trying to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Monday. “Double down on your advocacy. … She’s spent her career trying to destroy public schools.”
The Democrats’ appeals come after two GOP senators — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — announced their opposition last week to the school choice advocate and wealthy Michigan political donor. Presuming all 48 Democratic senators oppose DeVos, this brings the tally to 50-50.
Several of the major groups rallying against DeVos, including the American Federation of Teachers union, declined on Monday to name which of the remaining Republican senators they are targeting.
But while teachers unions and others say DeVos’ support for voucher programs and other school-choice efforts will hurt public education, backers say her plans will provide more opportunities to families and an alternative to public schools which in some parts of the country are showing little progress improving student proficiency in core subjects.
Pence, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” predicted victory for their nominee.
“We are very confident that Betsy DeVos is going to be the secretary of Education,” he said. “It would be my high honor to cast the deciding tie-breaking vote on the floor of the Senate.”