DeVos clears Senate hurdle toward becoming ed secy

Published 10:27 am Friday, February 3, 2017

WASHINGTON — Betsy DeVos cleared a major hurdle in the Senate to become the next education secretary despite vigorous opposition from Democrats.

Senators voted 52-48 to cut off debate at dawn Friday, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote next week on President Donald Trump’s nominee.

DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, has faced fierce criticism from labor unions for her promotion of school choice. Democrats and labor unions have accused her of seeking to dismantle public education and divert funds to charter schools and have criticized her support for taxpayer-funded private school vouchers.

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Two key Republican senators have vowed to oppose her nomination, throwing it into jeopardy. If Democrats all vote against DeVos, they need only one more dissenting Republican to kill the nomination.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, praised DeVos’s work in reforming the school system through charter schools.