10.20.21

Senate Confirms Catherine Lhamon to Serve as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights

Senate votes to confirm Catherine Lhamon by a vote of 51-50

 

Senator Murray: “Ms. Lhamon is a highly qualified nominee. She has a long track record that proves she is a champion for students through and through—and that’s exactly what students need.”

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, the Senate voted to confirm Catherine Lhamon to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education (ED) by a vote off 51-50, with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reiterated her strong support for Ms. Lhamon and highlighted her long record protecting students’ civil rights.

 

“Ms. Lhamon is a highly qualified nominee. She has a long track record that proves she is a champion for students through and through—and that’s exactly what students need,” said Senator Murray.

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray noted that Ms. Lhamon was previously confirmed by the Senate to serve for the same role, during the Obama Administration. She also underscored her extensive track record fighting for civil rights during her time as a chair on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as Legal Affairs Secretary to the Governor of California, and through her work litigating civil rights cases with the National Center for Youth Law. After years of the previous Administration rolling back critical civil rights protections for students, and a public health crisis which exacerbated preexisting inequities in our nation’s education system, Senator Murray stressed the need for strong leaders like Ms. Lhamon at the Department of Education to help undo the damage, and build back a stronger, fairer education system for all students.

 

“Ms. Lhamon is extremely qualified for this role—in fact she’s served in it before. In 2013, Ms. Lhamon was confirmed to this same role by voice vote,” said Senator Murray. “During her past tenure, she demonstrated her commitment to students across the country as she worked to combat sexual assault on college campuses, protect transgender students, reduce the use of seclusion and restraint, reduce disparities in school discipline based on a student’s race or disability, and enforce civil rights laws to protect students.”

 

Senator Murray’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

 

“Thank you, M. President.

 

“I come to the floor to call for the confirmation of Catherine Lhamon to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.

 

“Ms. Lhamon is extremely qualified for this role—in fact she’s served in it before.

 

“In 2013, Ms. Lhamon was confirmed to this same role by voice vote.

 

“During her past tenure, she demonstrated her commitment to students across the country as she worked to combat sexual assault on college campuses, protect transgender students, reduce the use of seclusion and restraint, reduce disparities in school discipline based on a student’s race or disability, and enforce civil rights laws to protect students.

 

“Unfortunately, the previous Administration took major steps backwards when it came to supporting and protecting students, for example by significantly reducing efforts to enforce civil rights protections, and rescinding important policies to address campus sexual assault.

“And now, as we know, the pandemic has also done serious damage and worsened deep-seated inequities for students whose families earn low incomes, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.

 

“We have a lot of work ahead to fix this and help our schools rebuild stronger and fairer.

 

“That why I’ve been especially glad to see Secretary Cardona and President Biden working so hard to right the wrongs of the last Administration, and support our schools through this pandemic.

 

“And I know Ms. Lhamon will be a critical, capable partner in those efforts.

 

“Because not only did she tackle many of these challenges in her past service as Assistant Secretary, but even after her service in Obama Administration, Ms. Lhamon continued fighting for civil rights through her time as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, her work litigating civil rights cases with the National Center for Youth Law, and as Legal Affairs Secretary to the Governor of California.

“And she currently serves the Biden Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity.

 

“Ms. Lhamon is a highly qualified nominee. She has a long track record that proves she is a champion for students through and through—and that’s exactly what students need.

 

“I am thrilled to have her returning to the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in voting for her confirmation.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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