betsy devos confirmation hearing
Warren challenges DeVos on personal experience
01:20 - Source: CNN

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Elizabeth Warren said, "Betsy DeVos has no experience with student loans"

Critics have questioned DeVos experience in public education

CNN  — 

In a tense exchange, Sen. Elizabeth Warren repeatedly questioned Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos on Tuesday over her commitment to protecting taxpayers from student loan abuse.

But the Massachusetts Democrat isn’t convinced she got the answers she wanted.

“As Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos would be in charge of running a $1 trillion student loan bank. She has no experience doing that,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page following Devos’ testimony to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “In fact, Betsy DeVos has no experience with student loans, Pell Grants, or public education at all.”

“If Betsy DeVos can’t commit to using the Department of Education’s many tools and resources to protect students from fraud, I don’t see how she can be the Secretary of Education,” Warren added.

Warren, a progressive who has railed against big banks and student loan debt, told DeVos that she would be responsible for managing student loans and issuing Pell Grants.

“The financial futures of an entire generation of young people depends on your department getting that right,” she said. “Mrs. DeVos, do you have any direct experience running a bank?”

DeVos said she did not. She also said that she had no experience managing loan programs.

Warren then proceeded to ask DeVos, who grew up in a wealthy family, about her experience funding her college education.

“For you to understand what it is like for students and families who are struggling to pay for college, have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government,” the senator asked.

DeVos said that she has not and neither have her children.

But DeVos said she was not completely unfamiliar with Pell Grants and has friends and students with whom she worked who have first hand experience with the program.

Warren asked DeVos if she would protect taxpayers from fraud abuse.

“Now we all know President Trump’s experience with higher education was to create a fake university, which resulted in him paying $125 million to students that he cheated,” said Warren, who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. “How do you plan to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse from colleges and taking millions of dollars and student aid?”

“Senator, if confirmed I will certainly be very vigilant,” DeVos said. “The individuals with whom I worked will ensure that federal monies are used properly and appropriately. I will look forward …”

Warren interrupted DeVos asking about more responsibility and details.

“You are going to subcontract making sure that what happens with universities that cheat students doesn’t happen anymore,” the senator asked. “You will give that to someone else to do? I want to know what your ideas are.”

“I want to make sure we don’t have problems with that as well. If confirmed, I will work diligently to confirm we are addressing any of those issues,” DeVos replied.