Politics

DeVos Hearing Postponed Until Next Week

Murray says ‘jam’ of hearings caused delay

Hearings for Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education secretary, will take place next Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Education secretary, has been moved to Jan. 17, a decision announced late Monday night by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The hearing was initially scheduled for Wednesday, the same day as several other confirmation hearings and a planned marathon voting session. Democrats have also raised concerns that not all nominees have completed the process of disclosing their finances to the Office of Government Ethics, which screens candidates for potential conflicts of interest. As of Monday night, the office had not made any documents on DeVos public.

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington said in a joint statement late Monday night that they changed the date at the request of leadership.

Murray told Roll Call on Tuesday that DeVos’ hearing was delayed because “there was a jam of hearings. I think this gives us time to hopefully get her ethics information in, as well.”

OGE Director Walter Shaub said the office does not typically release a nominee’s information if their reviews are not complete.

“Until OGE has precleared a report, OGE does not have all necessary information from a nominee and has not resolved all potential conflicts of interest,” Shaub wrote in response to questions from Murray about the status of DeVos’ review.

Some Democratic senators and advocacy organizations have questioned DeVos’ potential conflicts of interest due to her extensive political donations.

The additional time, said an aide to Murray, will allow DeVos to complete the OGE paperwork.

“Senator Murray is hopeful that this additional time will allow Ms. DeVos to complete the required ethics paperwork and in time for the Office of Government Ethics to submit it to the HELP Committee before her hearing, just as every single one of President Obama’s nominees did and as Leader McConnell demanded eight years ago,” the aide said in a statement.

The new hearing date will not change the committee’s plans to vote on DeVos’ nomination on Jan. 24, according to an Alexander aide.

“Betsy DeVos is an outstanding nominee who has complied with all of the committee’s requirements and no one doubts that she will be confirmed as Education Secretary,” the aide said in a statement. “This hearing delay is simply to accommodate the Senate schedule.”

The committee also was tentatively scheduled to have a confirmation hearing on Jan. 17 for Trump’s Labor secretary nominee, Andy Puzder.

—Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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