Procedural vote on Trump's education secretary pick expected Friday

Billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos' bid to be President Donald Trump's Secretary of Education was in trouble after two Republican senators announced Wednesday that they'll vote against confirming her for the job.

In speeches on the Senate floor, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they were troubled by they said was DeVos' lack of understanding of broader public school issues beyond her signature cause of promoting school choice in struggling urban communities.

If all Democrats vote against DeVos as expected and no additional Republican senators defect, the Senate could deadlock 50-50, leaving Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tiebreaking vote.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing on 1 February that he had "100 percent confidence" in Ms DeVos's confirmation. "She appears to view education through the lens of her experience in promoting alternatives to public education in Detroit and other cities where she has, no doubt, done valuable work", Collins said.

As a member of the Senate's education committee, Paul was among those who voted 12-11 in support of sending DeVos' nomination to the full Senate for consideration to head the U.S. Department of Education. In her hearing, she declined to commit to Title IX gender discrimination protections put in place by President Obama.

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One of those votes came from Moran's Kansas colleague, Sen.

Though the senator hasn't said point-blank how he'll vote, his spokesman says Toomey believes DeVos is "a champion of school choice" and "a great pick". "They question her commitment to students with disability rights under IDEA", Murkowski said.

Susan Collins of ME and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski are the first Republicans to vote against one of President Trump's Cabinet picks. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., both of whom also voted against that voucher proposal.

Mark Desetti, director of legislative advocacy for the Kansas National Education Association, said Moran's vote for DeVos would be "a serious mistake with education in Kansas". West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose seat is considered to be vulnerable, said on Wednesday he would not vote for DeVos. "As someone who is deeply committed to the belief that all children deserve access to a strong public education, I hope you will join me in opposing Mrs. DeVos's nomination".

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