tv Senate HELP Committee Votes to Advance Betsy De Vos Nomination CSPAN February 5, 2017 12:07pm-1:10pm EST
ithmife,'m ado rotbo oth vo pntf demrhama kw e ocu reotg. ieathul, erwaa ti, er ut1-. w irorlcaednd ifhe itoe otr v enhat mmteedy leofhe senator warren, the objection to the proxy was not raised at the time such action was taken. vote was completed by the time the objection was raised. i would object that ruling. we had a vote. within a minute afterwards, i asked the clerk if a majority of members voting and you put us
into recess. is that the rule if you do not call it instantly? >> point of order, i thought that while the vote was ongoing it was out of order to do any other business, and that would include objecting until the vote and then the clerk did not count them up properly. the vote is actually 11-11 under the rule. senator hatch was not physically present. there were 11 and 11 and the votes went the way they voted. it seems the vote is complete that we now have to have a new vote under the basic open meetings type rules that there is some notice required before you go back and call a new vote after this one has been concluded, even with an erroneous count. current does the clerk this question. the vote was completed. >> and the rule says the
majority of the members who were present at the time such action was taken, so my ruling would be that the objection, the request on role six, would have to be made at the time the action was taken, the vote was completed, and so that wouldn't be the case. i will be happy based upon the prior notification of this boat, every senator knew we were having this boat today. if we have one vote and minority dissent think it is appropriate for whatever reason, i am happy to also vote again. we will have favorably reported mr. voss in two ways -- miss demo in two ways. >> i'm trying to understand your ruling. washe time such action taken reversed to the vote, and that senator hatch and everyone
must be present who is counted in the vote. i did not read anything in the rules that said the objection is out of order. there is nothing in the rules for that. it is like we're making up rules here. committeees of this is an 1111 vote and is not advance. i think all the members here will recall that when the vote on the senate floor was taken on the affordable care act, our efforts simply to put three second statements around our vote word gaveled out of order by the republican majority. if it is out of order in the during a simply speak vote, how could it possibly be in order to raise a substantive objection during about?
me a way toing to require that all numbers be present and the proxies that the used to be to make the call before the vote, not after it is completed. >> anyone would been free to make the motion. >> mr. checkup i am trying to understand if we don't know how each one of us is going to vote in advance, how would we possibly know if i understand the proxy role correctly, the reason that senator hatch's proxy was not valid was because it was the deciding vote. we could not know ahead of time that it would have been the deciding vote.
that is where it seems to me the only thing the ranking member could have done was waiting for that vote be complete. i'm going to ask the clerk, is a revote out of order? >> know it is not. >> why is it not? it has been committee practice to add that into agenda after the notification for the executive session. so the chairman of a committee at any time can add additional votes without notice to committee members? that's instead of seat-of-the-pants. are you aware of any -- >> a question of the clerk. questionedember have
the validity of the vote before you had reported the vote total? >> yes, and that was not done. >> i think the chairman has a good vote. >> i'm going to send the murray. here's what i will do. i'm talking senator warren, if you don't mind. i will ask senator murray, i'm that the vote was appropriate, 12-11. you or others are free to torturn, make a motion overturn the ruling of the chair and we will vote on that. i will be glad to revote when all members are present. in fact, i would prefer to do both so that there is no question in anybody's mind for
she wasers present that favorably reported to the senate. >> i would ask the clerk if losing vote and a winning vote out of the same committee, which one wins? i would have to refer to the parliamentarian on that. >> is there a motion to overturn the ruling? >> i moved to overturn the ruling of the chair. i think we're setting dangerous precedent here in our committee that i think we will all be very sorry in the future if we allow it to proceed. i would request all members vote against the ruling of the chair. >> mr. chairman, may i ask a question? i think we need to vote.
will the clerk state the motion? which motion? >> senator murray just made a motion. i motionestate it? >> is to overturn the ruling of the chair and ask if there is debate on that motion? >> is the motion debatable? >> yes. >> i yields to senator warren. do we have a single example of a vote turning out in opposition and then immediately revoting it so that we can get a different result out of this committee? >> i can't recall of any i would have to check the record. i think that revoting at this
point is dangerous for this committee. andan't hold people here then save we don't like the outcome, what we are going to do is keep hanging on and vote again and again and again as many times as we need to until you get the outcome you want. then i will the clerk what was the recorded vote on the nomination. yes, 11 know, and one yes in proxy. >> mr. chairman, our ceiling on this side under the rules of the committee is that the proxy vote that the clerk just reported does not count, therefore the vote was 11-11. i think that is not debatable. i would hope this committee --ld not set the president
present and where somebody leaves and we have a revote. members move in and out of committees at all times. majority andth the minority of the future of our committees, we have to be careful on how we proceed. >> the first thing we're going to do is vote on senator murray's motion to overrule the chair. is that not a debatable motion? >> where moving to vote at the prerogative of the chair. >> we did the vote. we did an amendment. >> are becoming up-to-date or not -- are we cutting off debate or not? >> here is what i'm going to do. we're going to vote on senator
is there a motion to overrule the chair? >> i so move. >> the motion has been made. vote going to move to a without debate, even though it is debatable. >> is this motion debatable under our rules? >> it is also the prerogative of the chair to move to a vote at an appropriate time. at 11:30were to vote and have now been voting and discussing since this time, i think we all know the issues. >> i will note the vote at 11:30 was different from the vote at 12:05. >> i'll be glad to stay as long as anyone wants to talk about it, but we are going to vote on overturning the rule of the chair. [roll call]
>> the ayes have it. the measure is approved, the motion passes. our last order aside from , fornts after the vote which i will be glad to say, the last order is to approve the subcommittee assignments and chairmanship. i now moved to adopt the subcommittee assignments that were adopted last week. the measure is approved. chairman.f order mr. we have motions under this committee that are debatable and motions that are not debatable. you have now set a president that at any time the chairman can declare that a motion under our rules that is debatable will not be debated. can we just make clear that is the new president of this committee? haveank you sen. murphy: i an imo with the old president.
>> regardless of whether it is debatable? >> the chairman may move to vote. the chairman may be overruled, but he made moved to a vote. >> i think the next one should be a republican, but i'm ready to go to senator whitehouse in the order. me,t, let me -- excuse senator whitehouse, on the democratic side, senator casey is next. some --ted to in , my reasons for voting no on the nomination. first and foremost, i represent the state that has had public schools as part of its
educational foundation since the 1830's. of ourl have today 92% schoolchildren and rolled in traditional public schools. we do have charters. we have about 176 turner schools across the state. those charters are not private sector entities. they are not for-profit entities. they are public nonprofit charter schools. it is a great difference from devos has been advocating on behalf of. the basic reasons i will oppose her nomination is i don't think she is committed to public education. i would incorporate by reference some of the remarks of other members of the committee. senator kaine, when he mentioned he wanted an education secretary who was a champion for public education, that is the same language i would use.
, i wouldassan incorporate by referencing her remarks with regard to students with disabilities. it has not been said better by anyone on the committee. if you're not going to champion in the office for students with disabilities, i don't think she would be. her lack of knowledge regarding the individual with disabilities education act was stunning. i think of great concern to people across the board. finally, the series of questions i asked regarding sexual assault on college campuses, i did not agree that her answer was correct when she said she would embrace or adhere to the rulings currently in place with
regard to evidentiary standard on assault cases and that she would not insist upon the full the campus save act, refusing to commit to enforcing current law on campus sexual assault is another reason. finally, i thought that senator murray, who always makes reasonable requests of nominees and has shown an ability to work not only with chairman alexander of this committee, but to show she can work with people in both parties, for example her work here but also her work with then representative now speaker ryan. no one thought would come together. she has shown a willingness to be a reasonable person to work in a bipartisan fashion. her question to this nominee in regards to finances where she
asked for a full list of education related holdings and look for that was reasonable and should be fully answered. her question that to the extent the nominee believe that 120 billion accepted investment ands, she is retaining explanation of what those investments are and why it qualify for the exemption. the question that senator murray raised with regards to her assets. an expiration of where the asset that she was retaining were held, including specifically to family trust. very reasonable questions, as well as her insistence upon that i share in addition to the vote that we just had on tax returns, when you become an elected public official or unappointed
public official at any level of government, you should be subjected to having your tax returns made public. that has been the tradition in our state for many years, especially for high public office. i believe that is the right course of action. i have voted the guest and will vote against for all those reasons. for a cabinetote member on the floor at 12:20. when we go to senator whitehouse and editor baldwin. -- and senator baldwin. that i amfirst say disturbed by what has taken place during the course of this meeting. many of us have felt that there has been an effort to ram this nominee through without adequate timing, without adequate questioning, without adequate disclosure. until this moment, the defense for all that from the majority has been that this is all
protected by president -- precedent. that has been what the explanation has been. today rips any veneer of president away from what appears to many of us to be a steamroll job. the doubling of votes, the lack of notice, and the notion that it is in order to make an objection to a vote during their vote while the vote is being called seems to be very inconsistent with any prior action from this committee, and while i am not an expert and not a parliamentarian, it is inconsistent with my understanding of our general open meetings were meant and rules of order regarding conduct during a vote. let me say that first. i asked my complete statement don't the record. that whennt quickly
this nominee came forward, i held a forum for rhode islanders to talk to me about her record and what they want to see and a secretary of education. want to bring in a voice of barbara pellegrino, a first grade teacher. she teaches in the classroom she learned in, still in the same chairs because public education is so starved for resources. she is a recent recipient of the presidential award for excellence in mathematics and science teaching. she said the students who approach are public schools worked to strengthen our education system, not one who wants to destroy it. her concerns about this nominee are widely shared by the rhode haveders, 3000 of whom who called in to me. i will reflect rhode island voices against her. let me add another problem with the process we have gone through not just in this committee but others with a predicament that we have been presented for the
first time by the billionaire cabinet of this administration. the billionaire cabinet of this administration presents deep concerns about potential conflicts of interest and lack of transparency very this is particularly true for those with dark money operations. which are ethics, laws and procedures. they have not yet been updated to consider. the dark money activities of these nominees retain a blackhole of secrecy in which the conflict of interest can easily lurk. our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent has the scope and nature at its very heart. my colleagues on the health committee and i have asked her twice to provide information about what she has done with the american federation for children and the great lakes education fund. a 501(c) four organization that
raised dark money from anonymous donors to spend on political campaigns and causes that support radical education agendas. ought to be obvious to all of us, republican and democrat alike, that fundraising for and spending by these organizations raises potential conflict of interest questions. her dark money role was in education. and answers to the dark money questions from whom did you raise it? through whom did you give it? and what about was that raised and given? and what was your personal role in those decisions might well produce evidence of conflict of interest. we have papered that over. it is a blackhole to us. there are potential decisions her if she is secretary
in which companies of interest could be apparent if we only had the information to know. we have not been given that information. this candidate needed to put those concerns to rest. she chose not to. i cannot support her nomination. >> thank you senator whitehouse. senator franken was next. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for granting me that point of personal privilege. i appreciate that. i have not necessarily appreciated all the way that we have learned these hearings. senator kaine brought up something about president. t thatng the same preceden was applied to merrick garland's nomination to however the white house nominee is today. i think with the chairman would say from senator kaine is that
that is a very different situation. what i would say to the chairman is that this was a very different situation from arne duncan. just completely different. they've the superintendent of public schools in chicago. dr. king had been acting secretary. he had been head of the new york department of education. i asked crst, but about this, and nobody asked to ask any more questions. so just as senator kaine is merrick garland, it
is a different situation. i think you created a president for, and i respect you tremendously. but i believe you created a , fordent for this witness this nominee, to protect her. because i have not gotten as ash response to any nominee i got to this one. i want to dinner on friday night with vice president mondale at his favorite restaurant. he took me into the kitchen. one of the guys in the kitchen, i can't member whether he was mopping floors, but he said vote against her. he wasn't a teacher.
her, whichuestion to just goes to the core of how we create accountability. senator kaine asked her repeatedly would you hold these schools that receive out your money equally accountable. she would refuse to do that. the way we hold schools is bytable in large part testing. what i asked her was the most a sick debate about testing which is growth versus proficiency. know that a fifth-grade feature -- teacher who takes a kid from a second grade level of learning -- of reading say -- to a fourth grade level of reading, is a hero. proficiency,e by
that teacher is a goat. the importance of growth versus efficiency. there is not a teacher in this country that does not know that. there's not a principle that does not know that. there is not a superintendent that does not know that. this was one of the most embarrassing hearings i have ever attended. woman has less knowledge about public education than who has anye interest at all in education. has been involved in education, but it has been about her ideology. she has spoken out against public schools. she has said that the reason to
do this is to build god's kingdom. i would point out that school in indiana what i have this voucher 40 percent of the schools who got those vouchers to go to religious schools had never gone to public school. many of them were middle-class kids. basically what was happening is we were taking money from public schools where poor kids need those resources and giving them to middle-class kids to continue going to religious school. how perverse is that? doonly makes sense if you this to build god's kingdom.
it certainly is not in the interest, and they really appreciated senator murkowski remarks about who is going to make sure that the kid who does that are firsts in how to advocate for their in how torsed advocate for their kid. the homeless kid. the kid whose single mom is working double time. who is going to advocate for them? is what my teachers and principals and superintendents and advocates who i met with , just one of the many things they were concerned with. my time is up and i appreciate the chairman's indulgence. say that there is no
strategy here about this. someone whot uniquely, almost, is so of alified to be head department that is so crucial for our children in this country. that it is just a remarkably embarrassing hearing. for that reason, i will urge my colleagues on the floor to vote against this nomination. thank you mr. chairman. i sought recognition during rulingate on the chairs and chair cut off debate.
i'm going to try hard to use the five minutes i have to speak to the nomination of betsy devos to also touch on what i wanted to say earlier. >> go ahead and say what you would like to say. >> our power to represent our constituents rests on clear rules and fair interpretation of those rules. i have always admired the you, mr.n way in which chairman, have conducted this committee. i am dismayed with what we just saw earlier today. the ruling that you made was
that rule six of our committee in theere satisfied initial confirmation vote. 11-11 is not a majority. a tie is not the majority. to say otherwise in a ruling and then ask your members to stand by that alternative fact is really dismaying. we have to rely on the rules. our power as senators to represent our constituencies relies on that. i am really dismayed with what happened. there are other ways to deal with it. we do not have to be in such a
individualfirm an that members of both sides of the aisle have expressed causing concern, even if republicans did not end up voting at this stage against her. the qualifications and concerns raised by betsy devos, hearingoke at her raising concerns about the limited time we had for questions. and the fact we had our hearing at a time when ethics paperwork was not yet available to committee members. when it finally did come through, it noted numerous
financial entanglements concerns in higher education in particular that reserved additional scrutiny, additional questions. we did not have that opportunity. no, is substantive. betsy devos has not demonstrated a commitment to public education. my home state of wisconsin has a long and very proud tradition of public education. that we wrotetee into our state's constitution back in 1848. that every child deserved a free public education. betsy devos primary experience of education has been a decades long effort to privatize it.
her record supporting vouchers as well as charter schools that lack adequate accountability and oversight is troubling. don't believe from our hearings or subsequent questions supports a robust role for the federal government ensuring equity in education. passed theiginally secondary education act as a civil rights measure. designed to ensure that every student, regardless of zip code or parent income has access to quality public education. we continue that very important tradition in this committee when theeauthorize this law with bipartisan every student succeeds act. this secretary will have to
implement. that as very concerned a vocal proponent of state and local control, she will not be the stronger as we need to hold them accountable, particularly those who are historically left behind. answers toovides which she would not commit to robustly supporting the department office of civil rights. mrs. devos has no experience that will allow her to successfully lead america's efforts to make higher education to more americans.
this is an area of immense concern to myself and the people i represent because there is a student debt crisis in this country. mrs. devos does not have a clear plan to address. in response to my written questions, as well as others, she refused to commit to enforcing regulations that help students defraud their schools. refusing to help people to fraud and by their schools. and to refusing to oppose cuts. chairman, mrs. devos answers to my questions and my colleagues questions in the
before this committee in hearings as well as written questions. it demonstrates that she is simple enough qualified to lead the u.s. department of education , and that is why i vote no. baldwin: thaten. concludes the comments. first let me summarize what has happened here. we voted two different ways this afternoon because senator hatch was not here. both votes are valid, because of ofe six, about the use proxies, said such a motion
would require proxies not to be used. you'd have to have the concurrence at such time the action is taken. there is no objection at that time. i went ahead and voted again. with everybody here as an abundance of caution. you see the full committee here. how we each voted. the chief clerk and the parliamentarian agree that that is a valid vote. because it was properly noticed a week earlier. everybody knew that today we were going to vote on the confirmation of betsy devos, and we did. several of the minority members ijected to the fact that moved on a vote on a motion. i have checked with the chief
clerk, who is not here today. he says that typically motions in committee are not open to debate unless the chairman over -- unless the chairman decides they are. i not only did not set a new president, i followed the existing president and practice within the committee. the reason i did not want to allow further debate was because we had had plenty of it. summarize where i think we stand with the nominee. respect for the members of this committee, especially senator murray, and the work we have done. we have shown a lot of ability. you can see a big difference of opinion and reconciling. we did that with the 21st entry tears legislation very with the legislation to fix no child left behind. the president called that a christmas miracle. 20% or mcconnell says
tears was the most important legislation in this congress. we are perfectly capable of doing that. this recent election and what has happened since then frankly have gotten people on edge. that has carried over to the committee. i have done my best to try to lower the temperature. i have tried to adjust the two big differences of opinion that we have reconciled. the first is whether we have heard enough from mrs. to boss heard -- mrs. devos. she is the most question secretary we have had by a long shot. i don't think it is irrelevant to say that we should treat her about the same way the committee treated president obama's nominees for education secretary. hearing,ase, at the they had a round of hearings up five minutes. that was what happened with mrs. to boss. in the case of president obama's to tackle to his, republicans asked more than 53 all questions
and the second 56 quote questions -- follow-up questions. they asked mrs. devos 1397 questions. last asked 25 times more questions then we asked the democratic nominees of president obama. for what purpose? sen. burr: what might be the purpose. and senatorut franken, i gave a chance to respond, said last friday we had a retreat this weekend, a democratic retreat and talk about nominations and you talked about mrs. devos. she is someone there is not going to be one democratic vote for. not one democratic vote. thursday before mrs. devos had a chance to answer the 1400 questions that democrats asked her. are watching who to think about the fairness of the process in terms of questioning. when she spent 90 minutes were
questioning than either of president obama's nominees and was trying to answer 25 times as many follow-up questions, one of senators.rominent what is the purpose of the questions? what is the purpose of more questions? as far as the financial information, there is a second difference of opinion. i believe she has complied with all of the rules in full. sheminority believes that has not. let's take the conflict of interest question. here is what we know. betsy devos has gone through the arduous process through the office of government ethics to assess potential conference of interest. what is the office of government ethics? it is in 1978. it is an independent office. the head of the office was nominated by president obama and
confirmed by the united states senate. the head of the office has been most vocal about the importance of the process. what is the process? according to the process itself, their job is to provide an independent review of the financial disclosure reports of candidates for senate come firm .o nominees not a republican review, not a democratic review, but an independent review of the financial information. that financial information was completely turned into them on january 4. was it december 12? december 12. since december 12, this does mr. voss and the independent office have been discussing what -- whether she has any conference of interest, and what to do about them. they identified 102 potential conflict of interest, and they signed an agreement.
she would divest those 102 assets within 90 days of her confirmation. usn they sent a letter to that, therebased on is no conflict of interest. they should at least address that with the office of government ethics heard mrs. to boss has said she would comply with that agreement. we know based on our experience there is an ethics officer at the education department will continue to monitor her activities. she has supplied this committee with what she owns, with what she owes, to whom she owes it with her campaign contributions.
outside positions with respective employers. i think it is 10 years, whether she has been in bankruptcy. her employment history, her membership, publications, potential conflict of interest as i just discussed, whether she has a criminal history and what her campaign contributions are. in addition to answering 25 times more questions than president obama's education nominees, she supplied all that information, we reviewed it, and we are coming to our separate conclusions on that. i respect the fact my democratic colleagues either don't like the answers or would like to have more. i want them to respect the fact that in my view, she is the most questioned education secretary come from athis
committee of any education secretary. she has answered those pair she has complied with our rules. the independent office of government ethics says there are not any. suitability,o her i think she will be a netflix education secretary. i disagreed with arne duncan as time goes on. i think john king cares about children. they each had different backgrounds. i think david kearns cared about children. when i saw him in 1991 to asked him to come be the deputy education secretary, he was not in the classroom, he was the chief executive officer of the xerox corporation, who financially believed education cannot be properly restructured for the benefit of children, only from within. public schools need outside prodding in order to get better.
means offering more opportunity, more achievement for children, especially low income children. it is the major avenue we have for success. mrs. devos cares about children. then, really the charges against her is that people don't like the positions she take her violet anybody be surprised that the president would support the secretary of education? all education secretaries, most of the state support charter schools. they were invented by the democratic farmer labor party. and 2.7e 6800 of them million children attend them. they are public schools. the second is school choice. there is a difference of opinion. i have always been amazed. the pell grant, the student loans that follow: students to
colleges of the student -- that follow students to colleges of the choice. and then in my view, provided , it createdtion some of the greatest colleges in the world. i have been amazed using the same social policy for schools would be dangerous. i have was thought it might help the schools. it would not help every school. i have tried hard over the last three or four years to create more opportunities for low-income children to have choices of better schools and the same choices wealthy people have. that is what mrs. devos has worked on doing. finally, she says she will fall the law we wrote last year. as you can tell from this hearing, that is not so easy to agree on. getting votes on the a-12, it hadon for the sport of the national
governor's association as well as the national education association. the chief state school officers, that she will implement the law the way it is written. that is a big change. this passive ministration really liked the idea of a national school board. they were well-intentioned but saw a high standard and wanted to impose it. they wanted to fix a school and told everybody to do it. they said everybody do it our way. and said we will create about -- and accountability system in washington for her children are achieving an masto and sacramento. we will rate teachers ans schools. we said that is arrogant, that is not right. we would like to keep the 17
federal tests and report information so people know how their children are doing. we believe to restore the committees and schools that responsibility. she said she will implement the is on the schedule that scheduled to be of limited the way we wrote it. that means no washington, d.c. telling tennessee they have to have come in court. no washington, d.c. telling washington state how to evaluate teachers and no secretary of education telling any state they have to have school choice. she recognizes that is the responsibility of the state to decide. this hearing is coming to a close. we have had differences of opinion. i hope mr. devos comes to the floor soon. i did forward to working with her as the united states education secretary. these fourg all of .2 staff we all price to make any required technical and changes.
the hearing record will remain open for 10 days. members may submit additional information within that time if they would like. our next hearing will be tomorrow at 10 a.m. on the obamacare emergency. stabilizing the individual health insurance market. thank you for being here today. the committee will stand adjourned.
>> i did is important we let them do their jobs. bedo you think she can still and effective secretary of education? >> i think a lot of the controversy we have had as left over from the election to i think nobody should be surprised to have an education secretary who favors public charter schools. we try to get low income
children a better choice of a school and west spent 30 years of her life trying to do that. assemble ar to series of people and our major focus will be on the uprising higher education act. >> the vote was 12-11 in her favor. >> he said they did not object in time. is that correct? says.what the rules our chief clerk, the arbiter of these rules, confirmed the matter with me. the first vote counted even though senator hatch was not here. i went ahead and voted the partly because of one of the american people to see we had all of our senators when we sent her
to the floor to be voted on. with that i will go to the floor and vote the next cabinet member. >> the week ahead in congress includes votes on representative tom price to have the health and human services department, steve mnuchin to be the new treasury secretary and jeff sessions to be attorney general. before sensors get to those nominations, we expect a final confirmation vote on education secretary nominee at the devos. we recently spoke to an education reporter to learn more. >> she covers federal policy for education week and what is the status of the betsy devos nomination for education secretary in the senate? >> this morning, there was a vote to move her