WASHINGTON, D.C. — Betsy DeVos was confirmed this morning by the US Senate to become the next US Secretary of Education by the narrowest of margins.
The final vote for DeVos was split 50-50 with two Republicans joining all 48 Democrats to oppose her. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of DeVos. Both Iowa Senators, Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, voted in favor of Devos. Sen. Grassley released the following statement explaining his vote:
“I believe Betsy DeVos will perform the job of U.S. Secretary of Education faithfully and well. There’s been a lot of misinformation that Mrs. DeVos opposes public schools. In fact, she’s committed to being an advocate for great public schools. What’s more, her job will not be to oversee public schools. That’s handled at the state and local school board levels. The role of the U.S. Secretary of Education is to implement federal education programs, which are largely targeted at providing additional assistance to disadvantaged students and students with disabilities whether they attend public or private schools.
“Mrs. DeVos has worked to help low-income families access the same educational choices that wealthier families routinely exercise. That includes supporting charter schools, which are public schools, and which have been supported by the past several secretaries of education. Her work on behalf of disadvantaged students makes her a good match for overseeing the federal role in education.
“She’s made it clear that her job would be to enforce all federal laws as Congress intended. That’s refreshing in light of recent experience. The Obama Administration overreached in trying to coerce states to adopt its preferred policies. As a result, Congress passed safeguards to prevent any future secretary of education from pushing policies not included in federal law.
“I look forward to having a U.S. Secretary of Education who recognizes that position’s limited role, enforces federal law, and leaves all other educational decisions to the states, local schools, and parents. And I’ll continue my longstanding practice of nonpartisan oversight to ensure laws are implemented properly, without executive branch overreach.”