WASHINGTON — The debate over Betsy DeVos followed senators home this weekend as protests popped up outside the state offices of several GOP members.
In Washington the pressure is even more intense. The Senate switchboard is swamped by hundreds of thousands of phone calls.
Some Democratic senators even took their own turn at the phones, like Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
Oregon’s Jeff Merkley turned to a school kid to help make his case in a Twitter post.
President Trump chose the 59-year-old billionaire because of her longtime support for school vouchers, a cause many Republicans support, like South Carolina’s Tim Scott.
“The real debate isn’t Betsy DeVos. The real debate is about generations of kids stuck in underperforming schools,” Scott said.
But teachers groups worry she will move dollars out of public schools.
Her lack of experience in public education led to some rocky moments at her confirmation hearing.
“Were you unaware when I asked you about the IDEA, that it was a federal law?” asked New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan.
“I may have confused it,” DeVos replied.
Every Senate Democrat and two Republicans have vowed to vote against her on Tuesday, putting DeVos on the edge of defeat.
“Just one more Republican. That’s all we need. Just one,” said Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Democrats are planning to speak on the Senate floor all night to keep pressure on. As it is, Vice President Pence would have to cast the tie-breaking vote on Tuesday, which has never happened with a vote over a nomination before.