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FACT CHECK: Democrats Playing Politics With DeVos Paperwork

Senate Democrats are playing politics with DeVos’ paperwork in their continued frustration and disappointment over President-elect Trump’s victory. DeVos has submitted all of the necessary documents to the Office of Government and Ethics. Numerous Senate aides and Trump spokesmen have confirmed that DeVos’ delayed hearing was purely to accommodate a hectic Senate hearing schedule.

Senate HELP committee chairman Lamar Alexander’s office confirmed that DeVos’ hearing was delayed purely to accommodate the Senate schedule and noted she has complied with all of the committee’s requirements.

“Alexander said in a statement to The Washington Post that the delay in DeVos’s hearing would not change the committee’s plans to vote on her nomination on Jan. 24. ‘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,’ an aide to Alexander said. ‘This hearing delay is simply to accommodate the Senate schedule.’”

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the hearing was only moved to make the hearing schedule easier for members.

“When asked why the confirmation hearing was postponed, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell maintained Tuesday that party leaders have been working with the committees on their scheduling ‘to accommodate the ability of members to attend all their hearings.’ ‘The DeVos hearing is one of the hearings that are being moved to make the skeds a little easier for members,’ said Don Stewart, the spokesman.”

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer also said the delayed hearing was purely to accommodate a busy hearing schedule and had nothing to do with DeVos.

QUESTION: “Thank you. About the holdup on Betsy DeVos’s paperwork. You mentioned that the paperwork was in early. What is exactly the nature of the holdup? Has she been asked to submit more information? Or what exactly is causing the holdup?”

SEAN SPICER: “As far as I know, this has nothing to do with her at all. It has to do with the Senate schedule and the time constraints of senators being at various committees. So I would refer you to Senator Alexander and the HELP Committee with respect to that, or Senate leadership — Senator McConnell’s office. But Ms. DeVos had all of her paperwork in way before and looks forward to a swift confirmation and bipartisan support. She’s clearly the most qualified candidate for this position and will really be a huge benefit to the educational system and to children who are desperate to get a great education around the country. So, it has nothing to do with her. I think it frankly has to do with the time constraints of the Senate and senators who are trying to get stuff done, as Senator Alexander put forward. This really is — the timing of the hearing isn’t changing the timing of the vote. There’s plenty of time before when they had planned on voting with her — excuse me — voting on her nomination, and that remains the same, which I believe is January 24th, but I would check with the HELP Committee and with the Senate majority leader’s office.”

Kellyanne Conway also confirmed DeVos has “completed all of her paperwork.”

“Kellyanne Conway, speaking to Seth Meyers on his late night show Tuesday night, spoke out in favor of DeVos’ original hearing date, and questioned why it needed to be postponed. ‘It has now been pushed off, and I talked to her office today and they say that she has completed all of her paperwork. It got in there early, and she’s confident that everything is in order,’ Conway said. ‘And yet, she can’t get the hearing on time. Why is that? Why are we playing politics with the Department of Education?’”

Finally, Bush Education Secretary Rod Paige participated in his confirmation hearing a week before all of his paperwork was received by the Office of Government and Ethics.

A Senate Republican source tells the Washington Examiner that back in 2001, Rod Paige, President George W. Bush’s pick to head the Education Department, participated in his confirmation hearing an entire week before his OGE paperwork was received by the committee. Paige was later confirmed and served four years as education secretary.

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