Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sen. Warner opposes Betsy DeVos for Education and Tom Price for Health and Human Services

After reviewing the qualifications of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education and considering input from Virginia educators and parents, Sen. Mark Warner has determined that I cannot support her nomination. Additionally, I will also be opposing the president’s nominee Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“I have heard from thousands of you who have deep concerns with Ms. DeVos’ single-minded focus on charter schools and voucherizing federal education dollars. Additionally, countless calls and letters from educators and parents of students with special needs have emphasized concerns about Ms. DeVos’ commitment to enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Further, her testimony leaves questions in my mind about her understanding of policies related to campus sexual assault, student achievement, and school safety.

As a Governor who made one of the largest single investments in K-12 education in Virginia history, I will not stand by and allow the Commonwealth’s high-quality public school system to be undermined. Access to a quality public education is key to ensuring every child has a fair shot, and the Secretary of Education’s role in safeguarding students’ civil rights and safety cannot be understated. Ms. DeVos has not demonstrated that she appreciates the scope of these responsibilities, or that she is prepared to effectively fulfill them. For these reasons, I will not be supporting her nomination to be Secretary of Education.

The role of the Senate is to provide advice and consent on the president’s nominees. I, along with many of my colleagues, cannot provide consent to these appointments.

I appreciate all of the feedback I have heard from people across the Commonwealth. Together, we will make sure that we keep Virginia, and America, on the right track.”

Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, also announced today that he will oppose confirming Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He released the following statement:

“Today, Democrats on the Finance Committee boycotted a scheduled markup to vote on the nominations of Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary and Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) until a number of outstanding questions regarding the nominees’ records have been fully answered. Once that happens, it is my hope that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a vote on these nominees with full, bipartisan participation. At that time, however, it is my intention to vote against Congressman Price’s nomination to serve as Secretary of HHS and, as I previously announced, against Mr. Mnuchin’s nomination as well.

“I am committed to making sure we have a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and provides high-quality care, which is why I must oppose Congressman Price’s nomination.

“While I believe there is more we can do to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the fact is that it plays a critical role in driving healthcare innovation, protecting consumers, and reducing overall spending. I also believe strongly in the importance of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to provide protection and health coverage to millions of seniors, Americans with disabilities, low-income Virginians and children.

“Through his long record and public statements, Congressman Price has made it clear that he does not share these views. He has voted repeatedly against CHIP, advocated for dismantling the ACA without a viable replacement, and made it clear that as Secretary of HHS he will seek to implement policies that will make healthcare more expensive and less accessible to Virginians. I will strongly oppose this nomination.”

Sen. Warner also announced the launch of a new ACA portal on his website, asking Virginians to share their Affordable Care Act stories with him via www.warner.senate.gov or on social media using the hashtag #VAis4coverage.

“Nearly 400,000 Virginians now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act. If the Administration and Congress move forward on a plan to repeal the ACA without providing a viable replacement, hundreds of thousands of Virginians – and millions of Americans – stand to lose their access to affordable health coverage,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m asking Virginians to help me make the case against repeal by sharing their stories about how the ACA has helped them, and suggesting ways that Congress can work to improve, instead of dismantle, our healthcare system.”

In addition Sen. Warner has opposed Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, National, Politics

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