Senate Confirms Betsy DeVos; Moves Forward with Sessions Confirmation

Yesterday, the Senate voted 51-50 to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.  All of the Democratic Senators voted against her confirmation, as well as Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), requiring Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie breaking vote – a first for a cabinet pick.

HRC opposed DeVos’ nomination to lead the nation’s agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws in schools and ensuring that every child is able to receive an education free from harassment and discrimination. DeVos’ record raises important and unresolved questions about her ability and commitment to fairly administer the important programs and services performed by the Department of Education, particularly those involving vulnerable populations like LGBTQ students nationwide. DeVos has forfeited opportunities, including during her testimony and her written responses to Senators’ questions, to address these concerns and to assure the American people of her suitability and willingness to serve every American student.

Following the vote on Betsy DeVos, the Senate voted 52-47 to invoke cloture on Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) nomination to be Attorney General. The final vote on Sessions’ nomination is expected today.

Senator Sessions has spent a lifetime in public service devoted to proudly denying equality and justice for LGBTQ people. As Attorney General of Alabama and as a U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions has not only ignored every opportunity to protect the LGBTQ community from violence, discrimination and marginalization, but he has actively used his positions to stand against equality for LGBTQ Americans in nearly every form. HRC opposes Jeff Sessions’ nomination and released a report detailing his history of anti-LGBTQ actions.