Democrats Desperately Trying to Deny DeVos…. Today is the Day of Reckoning
A host of blogs and news outlets are reporting on the Democrats last stand against Betsy DeVos’ appointment, a desperate filibuster in hopes that one more Republican Senator will switch sides and deny her the Secretary of Education assignment she seemingly acquired through her largesse as a campaign donor. Emmarie Huetmann of the NYTimes describes the situation as follows:
After days of grasping at procedural hurdles, Democrats held vigil against Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s polarizing nominee for education secretary, and promised to spend the final 24 hours before her confirmation vote Tuesday reiterating their objections.
But as Democrats made clear they had no intention of yielding even a minute of their allotted floor time to debate Mr. Trump’s nominations — a final act of parliamentary disobedience for a minority party that lacks the votes to block a nominee on its own — Republicans stood their ground.
Daring Democrats to keep their word at the expense of several sleepless nights, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, said the Senate session would not end until lawmakers confirmed four of Mr. Trump’s nominees: Ms. DeVos, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as attorney general, Representative Tom Price of Georgia to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steven T. Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.
As noted in previous blogs, three of these appointees- DeVos, Sessions, and Price— will have a direct and wholly adverse impact on the lives of children raised in poverty. The fourth, Mr. Mnuchin, has a deplorable record as a bank executive having been involved in the robot-signing scandals that left thousands of homeowners penniless and homeless, which had an indirect impact on thousands of children and a direct impact on the 2008 collapse that our nation has not recovered from. Of the four, Ms. DeVos is clearly the least qualified to assume her position and, consequently, her appointment has generated the most opposition. That, combined with the fact that Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced last week that they would not support Ms. DeVos’s nomination. Those defections mean that there is a 50-50 split in the Senate, a split vote that will be decided when VP Pence casts the deciding vote.
But just now (at 6:00 AM on the day of the vote), Ms. Huettman has updated her article indicating that no other Republicans have defected which means the vote in favor of Ms. DeVos is inevitable. And this sentence is what is MOST distressing about the article:
Ms. DeVos endured a grueling line of questioning from senators during her confirmation hearing last month.
The NYTimes staff needs to get a grip! I’ve led countless search committees for everything from teachers to Assistant Superintendents and participated in interview processes for scores of top level positions (believe it or not, Principals and Superintendents don’t get every job they apply for!)… and every one required at least three hours of tough questioning by members of the public, countless hours of reference checks and, in many cases, site visits to the applicants current employer. Ms. DeVos was “subjected to” five minutes of tough questions from 11 Democratic Senators and five minutes of effusive praise and powder-puff questions from Republican Senators. If Ms. DeVos wants to participate in a “grueling line of questioning” I would suggest she apply for a teaching assignment in Michigan or… better yet, a Superintendency. Our public schools are about to be handed over to an inexperienced ideologue who has no clue about how public schools are governed and no idea about how hard teachers, administrators, and school board members work to improve the lives of the children they serve. The plutocracy will officially arrive for public education when Mike Pence casts the deciding vote for Ms. DeVos sometime around noon today…