Senate Approves Top Ed Dept. Lawyer, Punts on Pick for Higher Ed Post

December 18, 2014

As it wrapped up its final hours in session this week, the U.S. Senate confirmed a new top lawyer at the Education Department while failing to approve a nominee for a key higher education post.  

Lawmakers late Tuesday night approved on a voice vote the nomination of James Cole Jr. as the department’s general counsel. Cole is currently the deputy general counsel at the Department of Transportation.

But the Senate failed to act on the nomination of Ericka M. Miller as assistant secretary for postsecondary education. Miller, who is vice president for operations and strategic leadership at the Education Trust, was first picked for the job in November 2013. The Senate’s education committee had approved Miller’s nomination in January. But because lawmakers did not confirm her nomination before leaving town this week, the Obama administration will have to re-nominate someone for the position in the next Congress.

Neither the White House nor Education Department would say on Wednesday whether the administration would again ask the Senate to approve Miller for the role.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Senate next year to gain confirmation of the Department’s nominees,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement

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