WASHINGTON — Republicans are muscling more of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to the cusp of Senate confirmation over Democratic objections, with committees poised to advance his picks to head agencies in the thick of partisan battles over health care, legal protections, education and the economy.
Senate panels were expected Tuesday to advance Trump’s pick of wealthy conservative activist Betsy DeVos to head the Education Department, along with Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be health secretary; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general; and Steve Mnuchin to lead Treasury. All had strong Republican support, though final confirmation votes by the full Senate weren’t yet scheduled.
DeVos, a wealthy GOP donor, has long supported charter schools and allowing school choice. That’s prompted opposition from Democrats and teachers’ unions, which view her stance as a threat to federal dollars that support public education.
Rights activists fear DeVos’ conservative religious beliefs make her a poor advocate for LGBT students and other minorities. Critics have mocked her for suggesting that guns could be justified in schools to protect students from grizzly bears.
Health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., called her an “excellent” choice.
Associated Press reporter Alan Fram wrote this report.