Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary despite 24 hour fil - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary despite 24 hour filibuster

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Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump's nomination for education secretary. (CBS photo) Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump's nomination for education secretary. (CBS photo)
Sen. Chris Murphy makes a case to block the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. (CBS photo) Sen. Chris Murphy makes a case to block the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. (CBS photo)
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  • Senate confirms DeVos as education secretary

    Senate confirms DeVos as education secretary

    The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. (Photo: AP)The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. (Photo: AP)

    The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

    More >

    The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

    More >
WASHINGTON (WFSB) -

U.S. Senate Democrats pulled an all-night 24 hour filibuster in an effort to sink President Donald Trump's nomination for education secretary.

However, Republican leaders voted to confirm of Betsy DeVos. Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie, according to the Associated Press. It was the first time in history that a vice president broke such a tie.

Connecticut's two senators were among the participants in the filibuster. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy blasted DeVos over the course of it.

Murphy spoke out against DeVos on Monday after the filibuster began. Sen. Richard Blumenthal took the floor around 7:40 a.m. on Tuesday.

Their assessment of DeVos was similar.

"She is unquestionably unqualified, knowledgeable [and] unprepared for this job," Blumenthal said. "She's unfit to run the Department of Education. As unkind as that verdict sounds, we have an obligation to speak truthfully and speak that truth to power, even when it's the President of the United States."

“The American people deserve a secretary of education who embodies and exemplifies a commitment to excellence," Blumenthal would later say in a statement. "Unfortunately, the nominee before us, Betsy DeVos, fails on every count to meet that standard."

Murphy cited a private school voucher system favored by her that he said won't work. He also read letters from local voters who said she's unfit for the job and does not support public schools.

"It's the fact that she has spent her entire career and much of her family's enormous fortune trying to undermine public education," Murphy said.

Blumenthal also took exception with DeVos' voucher system.

"She’s committed her career to pushing private school vouchers and unregulated charter schools," he said.

DeVos is a billionaire donor to the Republican Party, according to both Murphy and Blumenthal.

Last week, two GOP senators said they would break from their party's wishes and vote against her, which leaves a 50-50 split.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have announced opposition plans.

Democrats would need to convince one more Republican senators to vote against DeVos to block the nomination.

DeVos said she's a school choice activist. 

She faces opposition from teachers unions and public school advocates who claim she's a staunch supporter of other alternatives to traditional public education.

Republicans, on the other hand, have accused Democrats of simply placating voters who haven't come to terms with Trump as president. They argue that she offers a fresh perspective.

"It seems this gridlock and opposition has far less to do with the nominees actually before us than the man who nominated them," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, senate majority leader. "Enough is enough."

Some Connecticut republicans support DeVos.

State Senator Michael McLachlin and Sate Rep. Vinnie Candelora have signed a letter with other republican legislators saying "no two states, localities or school districts are the same, nor are the needs of children who reside there. Betsy DeVos understands that distinction."

Senator John Cornyn, a republican from Texas, said “Ms. DeVos may shake things up a bit but more important she is going to be part to return power from parents and teachers. 

American Federation of Teachers said the battle over the DeVos’ confirmation "has a major silver lining." 

"The public in public education has never been more visible or more vocal, and it is not going back in the shadows. This same public—from rural towns to urban centers, from liberals to conservatives—will now serve as a check and balance, and they will be fierce fighters on behalf of children. I am honored to be a soldier in that movement for children," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"I personally would have liked someone else to take that spot who has been in education, has the experience, the knowledge," said Jan Hochadel, president of AFT Connecticut.

To read the full AFT statement, click here

Vice President Mike Pence said previously he was confident DeVos would be nominated.

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