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President Barack Obama said Thursday that he would nominate John B. King as Secretary of Education, USA Today reports.

The president said King, who is currently the acting education secretary, has contributed to the mission of expanding opportunities for all children since joining the department.

“There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable,” Obama added, according to USA Today.

King stepped into the role of education secretary when Arne Duncan resigned in December. But the White House delayed officially nominating King over concerns about how Senate Republicans would handle the confirmation process, the newspaper explains.

The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), reportedly urged the president to send King’s nomination to his committee. This comes two months after Obama signed a sweeping bipartisan education reform bill.

“For proper accountability, especially as we work with the administration on implementing the new law governing elementary and secondary education, it is important to have in charge of the department a member of the president’s cabinet confirmed by the United States Senate,” Alexander said in a statement, according to USA Today.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said this “is the right time for Congress to move on this nomination.” He added that lawmakers often “play politics with our nominees” by delaying their confirmation before unanimously voting in favor of the president’s nominee, the paper reports.

King, 41, is a former teacher and school principal. If confirmed, he would be the first principal to hold the post, according to USA Today.



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