#HoldTheFloor: Democrats stage desperate 24hr filibuster against Trump Ed Sec pick DeVos
The party is hoping its speaking marathon will secure the turnaround of at least one Republican in a last ditch attempt to prevent the confirmation.
A cabinet nominee must win a simple majority of 50 senators to be confirmed, in the case of a tie the sitting vice president casts the deciding vote.
All 48 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have vowed to oppose DeVos’ nomination, along with two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Democrats just need one more Republican to vote against DeVos to defeat her nomination.
However, if it does come to a tie, Vice President Mike Pence has vowed to vote to confirm DeVos, telling Fox News on Sunday: “It will be my high honor to cast the deciding, tie-breaking vote on the floor of the Senate next week.”
Democrats, arguing that DeVos is unqualified for the post, took to the Senate floor Monday in a desperate 24-hour push to persuade even one Republican to flip sides.
Betsy DeVos has dedicated her career & her inherited fortune to privatizing public schools. To tearing down public education. #NoOnDeVos— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) February 7, 2017
Protesters have also gathered near the Capitol at Upper Senate Park in an effort to block the appointment.
DeVos is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and the chair of the education organization American Federation of Children. She has never worked in public education, and has been criticised for her views on running schools, including her suggestion that guns should be allowed in some schools to protect against grizzly bears.
Trump announced DeVos, who is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of notorious mercenary company Blackwater, as his pick for education secretary in November. Trump’s transition team described DeVos in a statement as a “leader in the national school reform movement for more than two decades.”
“Under her leadership we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Trump said.
The National Education Association has come out against the nomination, claiming that DeVos “has consistently pushed a corporate agenda.”
Republicans argue that Democrats oppose her because teachers unions have challenged DeVos for decades over her support for charter schools and vouchers.
Betsy DeVos is a well-qualified candidate who’s earned the support of 20 governors and several education groups from across the nation.— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) February 6, 2017
Last month the US Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted 12-11 to approve DeVos as education secretary, clearing the way for a full Senate vote on the nomination. The Senate vote takes place at noon Tuesday.