WASHINGTON – Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly will not vote for President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education.
Donnelly said in a statement that Betsy DeVos “lacks the commitment to public education needed to effectively lead” the department.
DeVos is an advocate of school choice who helped develop Indiana’s school voucher program, which is the largest in the nation. She and her husband have an estimated worth of more than $5 billion, according to Forbes.
“I am concerned she will not prioritize efforts that are important to Hoosier families, like: expanding access to early childhood education, improving our public schools, and empowering student borrowers and reducing federal student loan debt,” Donnelly said.
Democrats requested a second hearing for DeVos, whose performance during her confirmation hearing created concerns about her knowledge of some federal education laws.
Democrats wanted to question her further, but Sen. Lamar Anderson, the Republican who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labors and Pensions, rejected the request for an additional hearing.
The committee, of which Indiana Sen. Todd Young is also a member, will vote on DeVos’ nomination on Jan. 31. If DeVos is approved, the full Senate will then vote.
This is the second pick for Trump’s cabinet that Donnelly has opposed. He said he wouldn’t vote for Rep. Tom Price, the president’s choice to lead Health and Human Services. Donnelly cited concerns about Price’s plans for Medicare in his decision.
Donnelly, a moderate Democrat who is up for reelection in two years, has voted to confirm other cabinet members, including John Kelly for head of the Department of Homeland Security, James Mattis for Secretary of Defense, Mike Pompeo for CIA chief and Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador.