Legislative Update: Committee Approves DeVos Nomination, Senate Vote Expected Next Week

On January 31, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee voted to approve the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education by a party-line vote of 12 to 11.

After the committee’s vote two key Republicans–Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska–said they would vote against DeVos’ confirmation on the Senate floor. All Democrats have unified against the DeVos nomination and the nomination vote count now stands at 50 to 50. The Republicans 52- seat majority in the Senate means a “no” vote from one more Republican senator could derail DeVos’ nomination since Vice President Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote. 

The full Senate will begin debating the DeVos nomination and a final Senate floor vote is expected on Monday or Tuesday.

As reported in a previous issue of the NSTA Legislative Update there was a great deal of opposition to the DeVos nomination.   Thousands are calling their Senators to oppose her nomination. The NEA reports that over one million people used an online form during the past three weeks to email their senators to urge opposition to DeVos.

Prior to the committee vote, DeVos submitted written answers follow-up questions submitted by HELP Senators. Many of these questions/answers focused on STEM, CTE, standards, and more (if you are interested in reviewing her answers about science/STEM, email me at jpeterson@nsta.org)

NSTA and Leading Scientific Groups Urge Trump to Rescind Immigration Order

NSTA joined 164 scientific, engineering and academic organizations on a letter to President Trump asking him to rescind the executive order on immigration and visas issued on January 27, declaring it “damaging to scientific progress, innovation and U.S. science and engineering capacity.” Read more here.

March for Science Set for April 22

The March for Science campaign has scheduled its demonstration in Washington for Earth Day, April 22.  Read more here.

Stay tuned, and watch for more updates in future issues of NSTA Express.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. Reach her via e-mail at jpeterson@nsta.org or via Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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