Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine, has once again broke with her party after announcing she will vote ‘no’ on Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
Lisa Murkowski, Senator from Alaska, will also vote ‘no’ on DeVos.
On the Senate floor, Collins made a passionate speech about her reservations (which are shared by fellow Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Maine), saying:
I come to the floor to announce a very difficult decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation’s next Secretary of Education.
The move comes unexpectedly, as Collins voted in favor of DeVos in committee, which passed on a party line and sent her nomination to the floor for an up-or-down vote. But at that time, Collins made clear she was still considering her support. Murkowski had also voted to send DeVos’ consideration to the floor.
Collins had told the Bangor Daily News that she was “surprised and concerned” about her “apparent lack of familiarity” on a wide range of education issues. One issue that particularly struck Collins was the fact DeVos seemed clueless to the fact the United States has protections for students with disabilities.
Susan Collins has so far been a thorn in the side of Donald Trump and his administration, recently referring to his immigration executive action as “likely unconstitutional,” and blasting Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council as “entirely inappropriate.”
As of now, 50 senators have come out against DeVos, including Collins, Murkowski and every member of the Democratic caucus (which includes independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King). DeVos needs a simple majority to pass, and with 52 members in the GOP caucus, DeVos has a slim chance of being confirmed. If one more Republican defects, the 50-50 tie that would be broken by Vice President Mike Pence will be blocked
Once again, Susan Collins has put the country before her party, and has showed the GOP what it means to have a spine, as has Murkowski.
Here’s to hoping more Republicans follow their lead.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images