Susan Collins of ME was the first to announce on the Senate floor that she would vote against DeVos, making her the first Republican to oppose one of President Trump's cabinet nominees. Sen. But two Republicans on the committee - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - said they still weren't sure how they would vote on DeVos in the full Senate.
Liberal groups hoped Wednesday they could pressure the Pennsylvania Republican into casting a decisive vote against DeVos, President Trump's pick to lead the Department of Education, and thus deny her confirmation. "I'm concerned that Mrs. DeVos's lack of experience with public schools will make it hard for her to fully understand, identify, and assist with these challenges, particularly for our rural schools in states like Maine". If all other Republican senators support DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence, one of DeVos's biggest advocates, would break the tie.
With Democrats expected to oppose Ms DeVos' approval as a block, they would only need three Republicans to side with them to make Ms DeVos just the tenth cabinet nominee in USA history to be rejected by Congress.
On Tuesday, the Senate committee voted along party lines to send her confirmation to the full Senate for final approval.
DeVos further appeared unaware of education policy debates over how to best measure student achievement and refused to say she would support requiring private and charter schools receiving public funds from having to meet the same accountability standards as public schools. But her shaky performance at her lone Education Committee hearing, where she showed she was unfamiliar with federal law that gave students with disabilities the right to public education and suggested guns in classrooms are appropriate because bears might attack rural schools, damaged her chances. "He is confident she will get confirmed", an aide to Alexander said after the senators announced their opposition. Collins laid out her reasons for opposing the appointment of Betsy DeVos.
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Manchin has concerns about DeVos' background and how that matches up with public education in West Virginia.
Robb McCluskey is an interior designer and former teacher who said he has a lot of respect for Sen.
"They fear that the voucher programs that are meant to serve them may actually rob them of the opportunity to benefit from an education in an inclusive environment with their nondisabled peers", she said. DeVos' resume is primarily dominated by her donations to charter school and voucher advocacy.
Collins called DeVos "a product of her experience".
"I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of Education", she said, "who has been so immersed in the discussion of vouchers".
DeVos needs a simple majority to be confirmed.