The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has selected Republican Representative Tom Rooney to chair the panel, and the GOP-led committee will soon announce the new chairman.
Republicans are pushing for the selection of a retired general, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, as a top choice to lead the panel.
But Republicans are worried that the former commander in chief is too close to Trump, and some have suggested that he is too much of a “soft target” for the panelists to reach.
Read moreThe panel is also looking at how to best use a $100 million public education fund, which was set aside for school shootings in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre in December.
The National Academy of Sciences has called for a “public-private partnership” to improve the effectiveness of the existing funding, and Rooney is a member of the board of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He is also a longtime supporter of school choice, and in 2012 was appointed by the Obama administration to the Council of Economic Advisers.
But Democrats, including some of the members of the panel’s Democratic majority, have expressed concerns about the panel and the role of retired generals in school shootings.
In a statement, Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, said, “the committee will investigate the role retired military officers play in the US armed forces’ response to school shootings and to our nation’s schools.
It is imperative that this important investigation be done in a bipartisan manner.”
The committee will also investigate whether or not the military was “unintentionally or intentionally” contributing to the shootings, as well as the role the military may have played in helping prepare the school shooters for the attack.
The panel’s chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, is an ardent supporter of the school choice movement, and he has criticized the school funding program for not providing adequate funding for students and teachers.
“The committee is investigating the impact of military personnel and their families on the schools in America, whether they are complicit in their own recruitment and the extent of their involvement with the US government,” Grassley said in a statement.
“This is a vital part of our nation and one that is very well overdue for bipartisan reform.”
The panel also is expected to examine the role and impact of the private school industry in the school shootings, which Grassley has been critical of.
DeVos, the former education secretary, and DeVos aide Betsy DeVos have both been heavily involved in private school education, which they see as a way to boost the education of children at home.
DeVos is a co-founder of the Alliance for School Choice and a vocal proponent of charter schools.
DeVos has also defended the right of parents to have their children attended private schools.
A senior Democratic senator, Sen Patty Murray of Washington, has said that the panel is “overwhelmingly stacked with Trump partisans.”
Murray, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has also said that “the Trump administration has already begun the process of dismantling school choice and voucher programs, including eliminating funding for the National School Lunch Program, and expanding charter schools.”
“The bipartisan school safety bill that passed the Senate in 2015 was the best thing that could have been done to address this tragedy,” Murray said in an emailed statement.
“The Senate is determined to ensure that the survivors of the Orlando school shooting have the opportunity to speak up, and they have every right to do so.
But the panel needs to take a bipartisan approach to prevent another tragedy like this in the future.
We cannot allow our children to be traumatized in a way that makes them less able to participate in school life.”
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, has called on the Trump administration to halt funding to private school vouchers, but the White House has so far declined to do this.
Feinstein said she was concerned that the Trump White House “may be willing to allow vouchers to continue to be offered at public schools without any additional checks and balances,” which could mean that vouchers are continuing to be given to students at private schools that are also participating in school choice programs.
A spokesperson for DeVos, who attended a Trump campaign event in December, said the administration was committed to providing funding to states for their education programs and was committed “to working with all stakeholders to ensure public school safety is not jeopardized.”