Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, the Senators from Maine and Alaska respectively, have announced their plan to betray education reform and American children. The current situation leaves the vote at 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence as the tie-breaking vote for DeVos.
As it stands now, this is the best victory we are going to see. No Democrats appears to be crossing the aisle on this one, and with two Republican betrayals, we can’t afford to lose anyone else. The Democrats know this, and word is they are targeting a handful of Republicans to try and flip them. Their targets as of now are rumored to be:
- John McCain
- Lindsey Graham
- Jeff Flake
- Dean Heller
To their credit, yesterday afternoon saw Flake and Heller responding to Democrat please to cross over with statements on the subject.
Lest there be any doubt about how I'm voting on @BetsyDeVos she had me at "school choice" years ago…
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) February 1, 2017
Heller’s full statement:
Due to her commitment to improve our nation’s school system for all students and her focus on increasing parental engagement, I am supporting Betsy DeVos as our nation’s next Secretary of Education. She shares many of the same points of view as Governor Sandoval when it comes to our nation’s school systems. Having his support weighed heavily on my decision to vote for her confirmation. Betsy DeVos understands the need to bring back education control to state and local boards, and I look forward to working with her to empower our parents, teachers, students, and local education officials. As the husband of a teacher, I believe Betsy DeVos is the right choice for this position.
That leaves, if the rumors are true, McCain and Graham. However, it is very hard to see either of them switching sides on this, despite their outspoken criticisms of Trump during the election.
The good news is that a 50-50 vote with Pence breaking the tie is still a win. The bad news is that the political opponents of DeVos are going to do everything they can to stall and delay both her confirmation and any policies she proposes to Congress.
Oh, and about that last sentence: Yes, DeVos has said she will work with Congress. She is opposed to the federal Department of Education creating policy unilaterally. This includes setting up Common Core as a federal agenda.
There is no reason for Republicans to oppose her, and Murkowski and Collins need to be held accountable by their constituents for doing so. If any other Republican also opposes her, they need to be held accountable by their constituents, as well.
This is our best shot at fixing America’s broken education system. We have to hold the line.