Dear Commons Community,
Democrats are shy one vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. All 48 Democratic senators are expected to vote against her confirmation. Two Republican senators ― Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) ― announced that they would also oppose her pick. In the days since, constituents have flooded the phone lines of Republican senators in hopes of pushing the vote count to 51-49. If no other Republican votes against her, Vice President Mike Pence has said, he will cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of DeVos. As reported by various news media:
Scheduled for this [Tuesday] afternoon, Democratic senators are spending 24 hours straight speaking out against DeVos on the Senate floor. The effort is being led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Senate HELP committee, which deals with health, education, labor and pensions. Murray has expressed vigorous opposition to DeVos.
“Hundreds of thousands have emailed or called their Senators — jamming phone lines, swamping the voicemail system and shattering records,” Murray said on the Senate floor Monday. “Millions have engaged on social media —sharing information with their friends, signing petitions, and pressuring their elected officials. Democrats will hold the floor for the next 24 hours, until the final vote, to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us. And I strongly encourage people across the country to join us — to double down on your advocacy.”
At the same time, some teachers mounted their own, silent protest inside their classrooms. Teachers across the country sometimes wear red to school to show support for public education. But on Monday, amid the lead-up to the DeVos vote, some wore black.
It will be interesting to see how long the Democrats can hold out in the Senate but it is not looking good!