Washington senators vote against Trump Cabinet nominees | KUOW News and Information

Washington senators vote against Trump Cabinet nominees

Jan 31, 2017

Washington state’s senators spoke out strongly Tuesday on two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations.

In the Senate education committee, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington delivered a sharp statement against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee as education secretary.

Murray said the billionaire DeVos had not fully answered senators' questions about her financial holdings.

Murray again raised questions about DeVos' support for private schools and charter schools and about whether DeVos would support current federal law on education.

“She would not commit to actually enforcing federal law protecting women and girls in our schools,” Murray said. “From everything we heard and everything we know and all of the questions that still remain, Betsy DeVos is the wrong choice to lead our nation’s Department of Education.”

After an extended battle over voting procedure that saw some tense moments between Murray and chair Sen. Lamar Alexander, the committee sent the nomination along on a 12-11 party line vote.

Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell was voting against Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the new secretary of the interior. Cantwell, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was joined by five other Democrats in the 16-6 vote.

If confirmed, Zinke would replace Sally Jewell, former REI CEO.

Cantwell told Zinke she was concerned about how the Trump administration intended to deal with public lands, TheHill.com reported.

“I know you want to be a Teddy Roosevelt kind of secretary of Interior, but right now you’re working with an administration who, in their own infrastructure bill, say they’re going to pay for it by oil and gas on federal lands,” she said. “I don’t know where that stops." 

Cantwell also voted against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as energy secretary. That nomination passed the comittee 16-7.