Speed Reads


Watch Senate Democrats rail against Betsy DeVos in overnight talkathon

While you were sleeping, Senate Democrats were holding court on the Senate floor, part of a 24-hour effort to highlight the unusually large amount of opposition to President Trump's education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos. All 48 Democrats and two Republicans are expected to vote against DeVos, and part of the Democratic marathon was aimed at peeling away one more Republican. "I am encouraging my colleagues to search your hearts, step aside from party politics and pay to play in politics, and fight for the children of the United States of America," Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.) said before dawn. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) noted the deluge of phone calls from constituents opposed to DeVos. "You can ask the Senate Republicans whether they're getting phone calls, too — they're getting phone calls, too," he said.

Democrats point out that DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and activist for taxpayer-funded school choice, has no personal or professional experience in public education or elected public office, and seemed really unprepared in her confirmation hearing. Her Republican supporters celebrate that she's an outsider and say Democrats and the horde of constituents calling them are just taking out their bitterness at Trump's election on DeVos. "She is having her 15 minutes of fame — at the wrong time," Mike Petrilli of the pro-school-choice Thomas B. Fordham Institute tells USA Today. The vote on DeVos is expected at noon. You can watch some excerpts from the Democrats' all-nighter in this video from The Associated Press, followed by a more curated report from CNN. Peter Weber