Two GOP Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins of Alaska and Maine, respectively, have broken ranks to vote against President Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education. Is it some from altruistic belief in the sanctity of public schools that led to their decision? Is it some deep mistrust in charter and private schools?
No. It’s exactly where our cynical political minds would take us. Follow the money and find the defectors.
Bill McMorris reported for the Washington Free Beacon:
Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have each benefited from contributions from the National Education Association. Collins received $2,000 from the union in 2002 and 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Murkowski, meanwhile, has received $23,500.
The NEA represents 3 million members, making it the wealthiest and most influential union in the country. The NEA, along with other labor groups like the American Federation of Teachers, has waged a fierce campaign against DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and school choice activist.
The NEA mostly backs Democrats, but Murkowski is a rare exception.
“Lisa Murkowski understands public education and is committed to Alaska’s students,” NEA-Alaska President Tim Parker said in a release. “Her leadership and advocacy were critical to passing the Every Student Succeeds Act, which put Alaskans back in control of Alaska’s public schools. Alaska’s educators and Senator Murkowski share a passion for increased student learning and ensuring that every child has the opportunity for success, regardless of their zip code.”
There you go. Party over principle, and money over party. That’s the creed for many entrenched swamp politicians.
Murkowski voted along party lines to advance DeVos out of committee, but changed her intended vote to a “nay” in order to keep her nice NEA endorsement, and the money it brings. Should the Alaska senator actually vote with the Democrats, her constituents should file that away for 2022 when her term ends, and hope the next 5 years don’t bring more blatant cash grabs.