Schumer Remarks on Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos

January 17, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor about the Secretary of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos’s hearing before the Senate HELP Committee. Below are his remarks:

Mr. President, I’ve just been told that the hearing for Miss DeVos, nominee for secretary of education, which began at 5:00 p.m., much to our chagrin, will only be one round of questions, five minutes each. It was just stated by my dear friend, the Chairman of the Committee, the Senator from Tennessee.

I would tell my friend, the Majority Leader, who just left and my colleagues, this is not the way for comity. Five minutes, one round, for a controversial nominee who has $5 billion net worth, who hasn't filed her papers yet? We feel very strongly there ought to be another hearing.

And this will affect how the rest of the nominees will go forward because we need time on them. I've never heard anything like this. A major nominee with major controversy, not filing her papers, and the hearing only began at 5:00 p.m. today, because my friend the Senator from Tennessee wouldn't switch the hearing to a different day, even though there's no rush.

And now he's just decreed, as the hearing went through that one round: only five minutes each. I understand why my Republican colleagues, Mr. President, are rushing through these nominees and this one in particular.

They're afraid what the public will hear. They're afraid who these nominees represent. President-elect trump said he's going to clean the swamp. What does he have? A rigged cabinet of billionaires, bankers, not the blue collar people he's appealed to.

And how do we know they'll represent the interests of the country, of the President-elect himself, at least what he said in his campaign? How do we know they're free of conflicts of interests?  There’s no way to know. Tonight's hearing is an indication the swamp isn't close to being cleaned up.

In fact, it's getting worse. I have not heard of any hearing like this. So I would respectfully urge my colleague, the chairman of the HELP committee, which covers education, to have another hearing because this hearing is not close to adequate. It's a mockery of the process.

I yield the floor.