Senator Democrats on Education Secretary Confirmation CSPAN February 7, 2017 2:03pm-2:23pm EST
u.s. capitol and some of the nominations to come. earlier today voting for betsy devos to become the next education secretary, a historic vote that the tie was broken by a vice president mike pence who came to the senate. and one of the confirmations and votes to come will be one tomorrow. the hill tweeting about that. senate gop will be voting on the jeff sessions i will vote for two more. they did vote to advance it earlier today, and so of course we will bring you live coverage on c-span2 of all the action from the senate. let's take a look back at some of the 24 hour session that the senate was in starting yesterday at noon, and we will begin with the minority leader chuck schumer from new york. >> i rise this morning to speak directly to my friends on thew i other side of the aisle. now is the time to put country
before party. i understand the poll of party loyalty.m i understand deference to a new president, but from what we've seen in the first two weeks of this administration, party t loyalty is demanding too much of my republican colleagues on several issues. on the matter of the cabinet, on the matter of the presidents executive order on the come on immigration and on the matter oi dealing with russia. we need republicans to set aside partisan considerations in favoe of doing what's best for the country. otherwise our institutions ofst government, our constitution, and core american ideals may bee eroded. my friends on the other side of the aisle are going along with i the president and treating many of these things as if they weree normal.ns but america knows they are not.
we need republicans to starto recognizing it, saying it and start stepping up to the plate to do something about it.collea i understand my republican colleagues would go along withnt the president 90% of the time, but there are certain issues that are too important that demand putting country above party. now is the time to put country above party. first on the cabinet. our norms of good governance and above all ethics, are being trusted by cabine cabinet unliky other i have seen in my time in public office.terest there are so many billionaires with so many complex of interest and so little expertise in the issues they would oversee. take the nomination we are now s considering, betsy devos, for education secretary. in my mind she is the least qualified nominee in a
historically unqualified cabinet. on conflicts of interest she ranks among the worst. enter ethics agreement, which was delivered to the committee after the first hearing, it was revealed she would keepru interests and three family owned trusts that have holdings in companies that could be affected at by matters related to the department of education.ve independent ethics watchdogs have criticized her ethicsf agreement for failing to deal with these complex of interest. on philosophy of education, her views are extreme. she seems to constantly demean public education. nine in 10 american kids attend public schools. her views on public education are a major concern, particularly for senators from rural areas. there's not a lot of choice of
the schools outside major metropolitan areas. if you don't have a public school, a good public school in your neighborhood, in yourld ber community, you have nothing. any senator from a rural state should be worried about her commitment to public education. we in new york at the third-largest rural population in america.hose i am worried for those schools where, if the school is no good, you don't have much choice. you don't have any choice. above all, and on basic confidence ms. devos has failed to make the grade. she didn't seem to know about the federal education law that guarantees education to students with disabilities. she couldn't unequivocally sayn' that guns shouldn't be in the schools. l and she didn't seem to know about a long simmering debate in education policy about measuring growth versus proficiency. frankly, ms. devos' answers at the hearings were embarrassing. not only for her but for my
republican colleagues on the committee who rushed her nomination through with five minutes of questions, only oned know madam president,, cabinet sectors can't be expected tog, s know everything, but this is different. the nominee for secretary of education doesn't know some of the most basic facts about t education policy. she has failed to show proficiency, and there is no longer any time for growth. >> mr. president, madam president, the american people t are speaking in one loud voice against this nominee. i've had many people come up to meet in new york and said iut voted for donald trump, i making calls about this nominee.tes hae americans across the country and red states and blue states haves been flooding our offices with
phone calls and e-mails, asking the senate to vote no on betsyhm devos. local newspaper editorial boards, many of them that endorsed trump, are saying the same thing. my friends, the senators from maine and alaska were profiled in courage last week when they announced their opposition to her nomination. but, unfortunately, so far they are the exception. we need just one more vote, and we can get a lot better secretary of education than the one who was nominated. i ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to follow the courageous example of the senators from maine and alaska. we have an obligation as a senators, not as republicans or democrats, but as senators to evaluate these nominees and their fitness for office. because these nominees are going to wield immense power over the lives of americans for the next four years.
i asked my republican colleagues to look into the conscience and cast their votes tomorrow, not based on party loyalty, but based on whether or not ms. devos is qualified to be our nation's leader on education't policy. if one doesn't measure up, the senate has a responsibility to reject the nomination.el i realize it rarely occurs, but this should be an exception because she is so uniquelyto unqualified, whether it comes ti competence, whether it comes tos philosophy, against the public schools, or whether it comes tow conflicts of interest which is still exist in far too many instances with ms. devos holdings.esident' second, madam president, the president executive order onstrt immigration refugees is so poorly constructed, soar haphazardly implemented, so legally and constitutionally dubious, and so wrong in terms
of what america is all about, so contrary to our basic values as americans, that my republican t friends should feel a duty to country to help us resend it. several members on the other side, i think it's over a dozen, have expressed concerns aboutuit it. several spoke out strongly and unequivocally about imposing any type of band during the campaign. but now that we have such a ban, they are unfortunately silent. it's time for that silence to end, and for republicans to step up to the plate and starth backing up their words with actions. on friday the order was temporally locked by a federal judge pick on saturday the president question his credibility the a tweet and then asked the country to blame any potential attacks on the country on the judge and the courts.
he is not a so-called judge, ast the president tweeted, but rather a senate confirmed bush r appointee. now, madam president, that's not how we do things here in america. there is a separation of powers for a reason, an independent judiciary is absolutely necessary to ensure presidents and congresses do not break the law or impinge on the constitution. but this president has shown a certain callousness when it comes to judges who rule against his whim. judge carrier during the campaign, judge robards now. instead of attacking the judge, the president should be workingt with congress to tighten up security where it is actually needed. the president has said well, if there are attacks the judge will be to blame.. i remind him, not one attack ons u.s. soil has been perpetrated
by a refugee from one of the seven countries in the executive order. this order doesn't make us any safer. if anything, the executive order increases the risk of lone wolf attacks, our greatest threat.thw that's what happened instead san bernardino. that's what happened in orlando. and no authority less thand senator john mccain has said exactly that, that it will increase the likelihood of attacks by these loan walls, these disaffected people who are egged on by the evil isis. so i make this offer to my friends on the other side of the aisle. join democrats in recent wi executive order and we will work with you in a bipartisan way in good faith to actually make our country safer.ver close up that visa waiver program where people from countries just because they are
generally friendly to us, those countries are not checked. we know the places like france and belgium have homegrown on terrorists lured by isis. they can get on the plane and come you'r your far more easilyn refugee from those sevennstead countries. let's tighten that up. but instead the president takes this executive order, lord knows how he came to it, and every expert on terrorism will say there are a lot more, there's a lot more important things and better things that we need to do. so let me repeat, the stakes aro too high for party loyalty to stand in the way of doing what's right to protect this country. we ought to scrap the order and start over. the order not only does not protect us from terrorism, but makes it worse. but it stands in the face of what america is all about.
beauti immigrants as the beautiful lady with the torch in the harbor, in the city in which i live has beckoned us for generations. finally, mr. president, i asked my republican colleagues to put country over party when it comes to russia. this administration has shown aw disquieting reluctance to criticize russia when it flouts international norms and laws. the administration seems hesitant to enforce new sanction and has even hinted at relaxinga existing sanctions on what has always been probably our most formidable enemy along with isis, russia and putin. unbelievably, just yesterday, the president insinuated that the american and russian governments were somehow morally equivalent. when asked about prunes authoritarian regime by bill
o'reilly, president trump responded, there are a lot of killers. you think our country so innocent? can you imagine if a democrat had said that cracks every one of the seats would be filled with people decrying that kind of moral equivalence. russia, a dictatorship, where putin kills his enemies and trouble anywhere he can in the world, morally equivalent to this great land?re are come on. where are you? you know if a democrat said it you would be just howling at the moon, rightfully so. and here, i don't hear much. ret mr. president, vladimir putin has little or no respect for the diversity of his people, for the freedom of religion and expression, for a free press,
for free and fair elections in russia and in america it seems,, and he has documented on one more, and he is demonstrated on more than one occasion he will go to any length to silence all medical dissidents, includingike murdering them.i does that sound like america, i would ask president trump? may be in the president trump's mind it does, but it sure doesn't to just about every american. it's not the america that this body represents. my republican colleagues come as i said, ought to be aghast. i don't think anyone from these other side would associate himself or herself with those comments. i am encouraged that the republican leader and other senate republicans criticized the president for these t dangerous remarks. but what worries me most is the policy. russia is a persistent andll strategic threat to this nation.
were this admission to cozy up to putin and his oligarchs and relax sanctions? will they look the other way when russia supports separatists in ukraine that commits human rights violations in syria alongside iran, hezbollah and the assad regime? putin is the kind of bali or if you give them an inch, he takes we 10 miles. we all have come across peopleen like that.ric -- bully. president trump's rhetoric is seen more in the battle space to her enemy each day.h day, what we must do in this body is ensure that current sanctions stay in place, and a robustly enforced. we also need to increase sanctions on russia for its interference in our election. we ask our colleagues, step up to the plate, do what you know e is right and join us in making sure that the president cannot unilaterally reduce sanctions, and that we strengthen sanctions
for what he is tried to do in our election. madam president, the stakes are too high to let loyalty to this president, any president, stop this body from doing the right thing for the american people.,a on the cabinet, and particularly mr. moss, on the executive order and the lack of this respect for independent judiciary and on russia, i asked my republican colleagues once again to consider principle over party and your duty to country before deference to the president. madam president, i yield the senatoro
>> madam president? >> the senator from washington thank you, madam president. madam president, over the last few weeks people across the country have continued to make their voices heard in opposition to the nomination of betsy devos. moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfather's, students youngg and old, in cities and intense and urban, suburban and rural communities. people are standing up and they will not be silenced.un thousands upon thousands have joined protests in their communities. hundreds of thousands had emailed or called their senators jamming our phone lines, swapping the voicemail system and shattering records.
millions have engaged on social media, sharing information with her friends and signing petitions and pressuring their elected officials. and madam president, it has made the difference. every single democrat will be standing with their constituents and opposing betsy devos. and just last week to republicans announced their opposition as well. and i can tell you, i know for a fact there are other republicans who are feeling the heat and could come around. so, madam president, this right nomination is dead even right dc now. on a razors edge, 50 senators democrats and republicans, will vote to reject betsy devos. and we need just one more republican to join us, to stand on the side of students and parents and public education in america, and say no to betsyo kc devos. off so, mada, madam president, i coo the fore today to kickoff the
final day of debate on this nomination. i spoke at length on friday making my case for why the senate should oppose betsy devos. and democrats will hold of the floor for the next 24 hours until the final vote to do everything we can to persuade just one more republican to join us. and i strongly encourage people -- >> some of the debate from yesterday that we will take you now to the use of capital live for remarks by senate democrats after the confirmation of education secretary at the devos earlier. >> okay, i'm proud to be joined by three of my colleagues, all of whom are distinguished, intelligent, erudite members of the judiciary committee sender why does, blumenthal, and senator hirono. a couple of hours ago i met with the judge gorsuch to discuss his nomination for the supreme court. he is clearly a very smart, polite a