After a highly contested battle in the Senate that led to a tie-breaking vote on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was narrowly confirmed as the new secretary of Education. Senate Democrats unanimously and fiercely opposed her nomination, as well as two Republicans (Susan Collins, ME, and Lisa Murkowski, AK) who briefly crossed party lines to even the vote tally at 50-50. For the first time in US political history, the vice president was called upon to break the deadlock for nominating a member of the cabinet ; Mike Pence used his deciding vote to finalize the deal.
Shortly after the confirmation of DeVos, a House Republican from Kentucky introduced a bill that would completely do away with the federal Department of Education. His name is Thomas Massie.
Also known as H. R. 899, Massie’s bill contains only one sentence: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31st, 2018.”
Rep Massie also had this to say on the day of the secretary’s confirmation: “Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn. Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school.”
Massie is also playing an instrumental role in drawing up legislation to defund the Environmental Protection Agency, which is something President Reagan tried to accomplish in September of 1981, along with attempting to abolish the Department of Energy, both of which never panned out.
While attempting to gain some momentum in abolishing a department that has now been handed over to Betsy DeVos, seven other Republicans have showed their support for the bill, including Rep. Raul Labrador(R-ID), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).