President Donald Trump’s commission on school safety, headed up by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, will consist of three other cabinet secretaries: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
That’s according to DeVos’ testimony Tuesday before a House of Representatives panel that deals with K-12 spending. Her response came in answer to a question from Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass.
The commission will begin its work “within the next couple weeks,” DeVos said, and will meet with a “wide variety of experts” in Washington, D.C., and across the country.
Clark seemed unhappy with the makeup of the commission.
“Is that it? Just four cabinet secretaries? No experts? No Democrats?” said Clark, who also asked about a student representative.
“This is an urgent matter, we want to ensure sure that we are able to move and operate as quickly as possible, without getting bogged down in bureaucracy,” DeVos told her.
Clark also pressed for a timeline for completing the commission’s work. DeVos said she had one in mind, but was still working out the details with others in the administration.
Clark isn’t the first Democrat in Congress to press DeVos for further details on the commission—and insinuate that it might be a stalling technique so that the administration doesn’t need to immediately wade into contentious issues, such as gun control.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, asked DeVos similar questions in a closed-door meeting last week. DeVos was unable to supply many specifics, according to Murray, who later sent the secretary her questions in writing. DeVos’ spokeswoman, Liz Hill, said Murray’s description of the meeting wasn’t accurate. More here.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos leans over to listens to Bill Cordes, right, Department of Education Budget Service Elementary, Secondary and Vocational Analysis Division Director, as they wait to testify before a House Committee on Appropriation subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 20.
--Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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