In one last attempt to persuade a Republican to oppose Betsy DeVos' confirmation as President Donald Trump's Secretary of Education, Democrats announced that they will speak out against the controversial nominee on the Senate floor for 24 hours straight.
The Senate will decide on Feb. 7 whether or not to confirm DeVos, who currently has the support of 50 Republicans and the opposition of 50 others, including all Democrats and two Republican senators, notes The Washington Post. But since Vice President Mike Pence has the authority to break a tie vote, supporters are confident that they have the numbers needed to secure her confirmation onto Trump's cabinet.
"Democrats will hold 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," Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who is known for working across the aisle, said from the Senate floor on Feb. 6, according to The Hill.
Murray, the ranking Democrat of the Senate Education Committee, said that the private school advocate's nomination is "on the razor's edge" and called on Republicans to stand with the Americans who believe in public education and not the members of their party looking to the political outsider to shake up the school system, notes The Post.
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"For the vast majority of people across the country, public education isn't just another issue," Murray added. "It's different. We believe that a commitment to strong public schools is part of America's core. The idea that every student, in every community, should have the opportunities that strong public schools offer. This is a notion that is embedded in our values. It's who we are. It's in our blood."
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York had a similar message for his peers, urging them to "put country before party" and vote against the Michigan billionaire who supports using public school funds to help parents pay private school tuition.
"Her views are extreme," Schumer said. "She seems to constantly demean the main purpose of her job, public education."
While Democratic senators are scheduled to speak through the night, Democrats are targeting the handful of Republicans from rural areas, where there are few public school alternatives. But besides Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, no one from the GOP has pledged to vote against her.