Sen. Patty Murray says critical nomination on ‘razor’s edge’

Feb 6, 2017, 1:21 PM
Patty Murray...
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., waits to hear Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos testify during her confirmation hearing in the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (AP)

On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) continued to try to persuade Republicans to change their votes on President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary.

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“This nomination is dead even right now,” Murray said. “On the razor’s edge.”

Murray argues that Trump pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is unfit for the job.

“She has called public education ‘a dead end,'” Murray said Monday.

“She has said education is an industry,” Murray continued. “An industry? For someone like her — a billionaire right-wing activist who spent her career and inherited fortune buying and selling companies — she just doesn’t understand a quote ‘industry’ that isn’t focused on profits.”

DeVos is the wife of Dick DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune. She has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools in her home state of Michigan and elsewhere around the country.

Murray strongly opposes DeVos because of “her tangled finances and potential conflicts of interest, her lack of experience in public schools and knowledge of basic education issues,” the Associated Press reports.

If she got the job, DeVos would be responsible for advising President Trump on federal policies and programs related to education in the country. As The New York Times points out, education accounts for 3 percent of the federal budget.

DeVos moved closer toward a confirmation as the education secretary on Friday. Republicans voted 52-48 to cut off debate over the nomination. The stage is now set for a final vote on Tuesday, even while Murray fights to change Republican’s minds.

Two Republican senators — Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — said they would vote against a DeVos nomination. The Associated Press reports that if all Democrats vote against her, and no other Republicans dissent, Vice President Pence would have to be the tie-breaker.

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Sen. Patty Murray says critical nomination on ‘razor’s edge’