Committee approves DeVos for Education Secretary, moves on to full Senate

Posted at 12:19 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 17:34:26-05

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee has approved Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary, even as two GOP senators expressed some reservations.

After a heated debate Tuesday morning, senators on the committee voted 12-11 along party lines to support DeVos' nomination, sending it to the full Senate for action.

“Let’s give her a little bit of credit," said Sen. Richard Burr, (R - NC) in support of DeVos. "She lives in a state where she saw the need for somebody to take action, and she tried. She’s tried a lot of different things. She’s criticized today because she tried.”

“The real debate isn’t Betsy DeVos," added Sen. Tim Scott (R - SC). "The real debate is generations of kids that are stuck in under performing schools. That is a travesty.”

But two prominent Republicans on the committee, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are expressing their skepticism over DeVos. They say they are not yet sure whether they will vote for her on the Senate floor.

"She has not yet earned my full support," said Murkowski, "and each of us have the opportunity to vote ‘aye’ or ‘neigh’ I would not advise that she yet count on my vote.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story