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Sen. Alexander Praises Betsy DeVos After Meeting, Expects Quick Confirmation

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 10, 2017 1 min read
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Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee, said Betsy DeVos will be an “excellent education secretary” after meeting Tuesday with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

“I’m looking forward to her hearing because I know she will impress the Senate with her passionate support for improving education for all children. I am fully confident that she will be swiftly confirmed by the full Senate,” Alexander said in a statement.

Originally, the committee’s hearing on DeVos’ nomination was slated to be held Jan. 11. But late Monday, Alexander and the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, announced that the hearing had been postponed to Jan. 17. Murray has been highlighting the need for DeVos to submit required ethics-related information to the Office for Government Ethics, and for that office to submit it to the committee, before any hearing on her nomination.

Sources say those concerns contributed to the hearing’s delay—Republicans didn’t want DeVos’ hearing to center around the fact that she hadn’t received clearance from the ethics office.

However, Alexander said earlier Tuesday that he knew of no problems that had cropped up as a result of information DeVos submitted to the OGE. The hearing was moved back, he said, after Senate leadership requested it due to scheduling issues. In his statement Tuesday, Alexander reiterated that the committee vote on DeVos’ nomination would take place Jan. 24.

DeVos is a prominent backer of vouchers and other school choice programs across the country. She is also a prominent donor to GOP politicians, including several members of the Senate education committee. When Trump nominated DeVos in November, Alexander praised her nomination in a public statement. He also said at the time that he looked forward to working with DeVos to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, although DeVos does not have an extensive record with higher education policy.